This introductory chapter begins by considering the renewed interest in the operations of the Underground Railroad (UGRR). The new history is more dispassionate in its praise of the range and effectiveness of the efforts of those who participated in the movement. It has also widened its scope to include many who, in the earlier histories, had been thought to have played little or only peripheral roles. But most important of all, the new studies assess the work of the slaves themselves in effecting their own freedom. This study takes its cue from these modern approaches to the movement by emphasizing what the enslaved did. It relies heavily on the recounting and recapturing of events and the individuals who participated in them. An overview of the subsequent chapters is also presented.
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