Monday, March 31, 2008
Where the Underground Railroad was really Underground
As most readers already know, the term "Underground Railroad" did not refer to a real railroad that ran underground. It was the term given to the various routes by which escaped slaves tried to make their ways north to freedom during the decades leading up to the Civil War.
Most of these avenues of escape were above ground and few involved trains.
But in Florida, at least, there is evidence that at least part of the "Underground Railroad" was actually underground! Newspaper reports from the antebellum era indicate that the caves in and around today's Florida Caverns State Park were often used by escaped slaves as hiding places until they could begin their difficult journeys in search of freedom.
The escaped slaves were not alone in using the caves over the years. Local tradition is strong that they were also used by small groups of Native Americans to avoid capture during the Seminole Wars.
To learn more about the fascinating history of the Florida Caverns, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com and look for the Florida Caverns heading.