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American History Tellers

The Underground Railroad | Crossing the Line

American History Tellers
American History Tellers

On the morning of April 16th, 1848, dozens of Washington, D.C. slaveowners woke up to find that their slaves were gone. The previous night, 77 enslaved men, women, and children had quietly run away and boarded a ship docked in the Potomac River.


It was the largest single escape attempt by enslaved people in American history. And it sparked riots in the streets of Washington and heated battles in government. Slaveowners and their allies in Congress grew more determined than ever to stem the tide of fugitive slaves.

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