Footsteps of History Students Reenact Underground Railroad

Puget Sound Adventist Academy (Kirkland, Wash.) students marked National Black History Month with a reenactment of the Underground Railroad for Kirkland Adventist School elementary students.

Although many students know that slavery took place in this country, few knew about the behind-the-scenes efforts of blacks and whites alike to end the inequality of treatment between the two groups.

PSAA students set up mazes and safe houses in various classrooms, with conductors leading the elmentary students on the "route" to Canada.

Between the 1840s and 1860s, the Underground Railroad allowed slaves to travel to freedom in Canada. There were free states at the time, but slave owners in southern states could still retrieve slaves in the northern states. Conductors would lead the slaves to safe houses along certain routes to Canada. The slaves knew the safe houses by lanterns set out by the homeowners.

Although this method was not foolproof, the system was based on trust and a lack of better options for those seeking freedom. The Underground Railroad involved slave catchers, food stops along the way, and houses of shelter for sleeping at night.

Each stop of the reenactment took about 10 minutes as the students experienced the different parts of the journey.

This learning tool provided students a new perspective on what it might have been like to spend time in someone else’s footsteps in history.

April 01, 2006 / Washington Conference