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Funded by the Vermont Council on the Humanities

Vermont was very active in the anti-slavery movement before the Civil War. It is known that many slaves escaped through Vermont to Canada, but until recently there has not been much documentary evidence of who they were, how they escaped, what their routes were, or how they might have been hidden. Today, scholars are discovering new materials on the Underground Railroad and the Vermont Historical Society is bringing their work to teachers.

Materials on this page are drawn from the booklet "Yours, in the cause of the slave" —a documentary packet for teachers and students. Follow the links below to view digitized versions of the original booklet.

Yours, in the cause of the slave booklet for browsing (PDF 2.1 MB)
Yours, in the cause of the slave booklet for download (PDF 9.6 MB)
The anti-slavery timeline (PDF 1.2 MB)

Documents: News clips, letters, poetry, and other useful primary source materials as well as a teaching guide to using these documents in class.

Case study: A brief overview of the Robinson Family of Ferrisburg, who provided shelter for many fugitives

Glossary: An explanation of terms commonly used in slavery and UGRR discussions

Bibliography: An extensive list of secondary sources, children’s sources, town histories, websites, manuscript collections, and much more

Vermont timeline: A timeline of UGRR events in Vermont

National timeline: A timeline of national UGRR events

The Black Bonnet: An activity page to accompany Louella Bryant’s story, in which 2 sisters escape slavery and pass through Vermont on their way to Canada

The UGRR debate: A discussion of·disagreements regarding the UGRR, including 2 articles supporting opposing points of view

Colonization of society: A resource page examining the colonization movement

Abolitionist movement: Explore the story of the abolitionist movement in America through the PBS interactive map online. Dozens of museums and institutions have partnered with American Experience to bring you archival images, documents, and videos related to abolitionism.  

Once you are on the site, you will note some images "pinned" to the State of Vermont: some in Addision County and some in Caledonia. Click on those locations and you'll see historical notes pinned by the Vermont Historical Society!

Anti-slavery society: Resource pages examining the anti-slavery movement