- from Underground Railroad
Every enslaved person wanted to be free, but few had the chance.
They had little hope of reaching freedom. Most escapes failed. If they got caught, runaways were beaten, jailed, or sold. Slave owners saw enslaved persons as valuable property and watched them closely. Many couldn’t leave the plantation without written permission.
Once on the road, they could be stopped and questioned by anyone. In parts of the South, enslaved persons couldn’t ride trains. They couldn’t cross bridges without a special pass. Runaways usually traveled at night. They went on foot. They had nothing to eat but the scraps they found or stole as they went. Going through swamps, they could be bitten by poisonous snakes. If they didn’t find food, they starved. Until they reached the North, many lived on fruit and unripe corn from fields.