By Wilbur H. Siebert. First published in 1898, this comprehensive history was the first documented survey of a system that helped fugitive slaves escape from areas in the antebellum South to regions as far north as Canada. Comprising fifty years of research, the text includes interviews and excerpts from diaries, letters, biographies, memoirs, speeches, and a large number of other firsthand accounts. Together, they shed much light on the origins of a system that provided aid to runaway slaves, including the degree of formal organization within the movement, methods of procedure, geographical range, leadership roles, the effectiveness of Canadian settlements, and the attitudes of courts and communities toward former slaves. Dover Publications (2006), English, Paperback: 560 pages.
In his introduction to Professor Siebert's book, historian Albert Bushnell Hart lauds the author for having "rescued and put on record events which in a few years will have ceased to be in the memory of living men. [Siebert] has done for the history of slavery what the students of ballad and folk-lore have done for literature; he has collected perishing materials."
Invaluable for its unbiased, literate treatment, this carefully researched study will be an excellent resource for instructors and students of African-American history, and engrossing literature for readers interested in the plight of fugitive slaves in the pre-Civil War era.