The Underground Railroad By Grant, Dylan, Gillian, and Olivia K.

On The Plantation

Every day on the plantation, I woke up, ate, and went out to the fields. I picked cotton all day. It was so hot out and we never got enough water. One day I didn’t pick enough cotton and I got whipped really bad. That was my least favorite thing about this place. Punished for no reason. I still have the scars today. That day is when I decided that I would try to escape. I knew I wouldn’t get anywhere without food, so I had to find some. The thing is, it’s very hard to steal food as a slave. The overseers would catch you if you stole too much. So what I did for a week was eat all my food, except for the bread. I hid it all under my bed. When the time finally came, I said my goodbyes, then left.

Escape

I left the plantation at night. Before I slipped out, I felt a hand grab my arm and I had a moment of fear until I realized that it was my older brother Tomas. I calmed down and hugged him goodbye, I would miss him, but he had insisted to stay behind to take care of our mama who was too old to escape. As I let go of him, he slipped something in my pocket and whispered, “Use this if you get into trouble. I couldn’t tell what it was, but my time to leave was slipping away and I couldn’t stop to take a closer look. I slipped it into my pocket, said goodbye and headed on my way. As I fingered it, I guessed it was a pass, a fake one that some of the slaves had that said they were free. I had only the clothes on my back and a little bit of bread. I followed the northstar but soon enough, there were clouds covering the sky. Luckily, I remembered something my Mama taught me a few years ago. Moss on trees grew facing North. I found moss and followed it. When the sun was coming up, I heard a wagon coming down a road near by. I quickly hid behind some trees as they passed me. However they slowed down and came to a stop right in front of me. I peeked out from behind my tree and saw a quilt was draped over the top of the wagon. It had a Shoofly pattern on it and I knew the wagon was here to help. I got in the bottom with a few other slaves I had never seen before. I closed my eyes and slept until dawn. When the sun began to set, the wagon let us off a few miles from a safe house. I left the wagon and continued my journey. I traveled until I came across a cottage somewhere in Indiana that had quilts with a pattern hanging out to dry. I had heard about these. They were called safe houses. I walked up to the door and knocked. Two white people came to the door. I stayed there for a few days and found out that it was called Levi Coffin House. Once i stayed for a few days Levi Coffin and his wife said it was safe to leave and continued my journey north.

Reaching Safey

Finally I came across the last stop, the Second Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan. I had heard about this place from a slave on my plantation who had tried to run away but had been caught and taken back. It had been a long journey from the last safe house back in Indiana and I took the last few steps with great difficulty, and knocked on the door. Once I got inside I was greeted with food and water. I spent the night there, but knew I had to continue on my way to make room for the constant flow of slaves who stopped there on their way to freedom. On my way out I was informed that I still had a little way until I crossed the border into Canada and reached freedom. However, in my excitement to be free, I barely listened and was not as careful as I should have been. This was a big mistake. As I walked down the dusty road, I heard barking and instantly a chill of terror ran down my spine, I tried to dash into the woods to hide myself, but it was too late. I felt the hand grab my shirt before I heard it. I let out a short yelp like a frightened puppy. I had come this far, I couldn’t believe I had let this happen. I slowly turned around with the hand still on my back to come face to face with a white man. “What are you doing here?” His gruff voice asked me. Suddenly, the strong arm reminded me of my brother. The pass! I reached my hand into my pocket and felt the paper. I slipped it out and showed the man. “I am a free slave.” He grunted but turned away leading his dog. I continued on my way making sure to be careful to avoid being caught again, and finally reached the border to Canada.

Reaching Freedom

I took a deep breath and stepped across the border. The border between my old life and my new life. I let out a scream for joy even though I got a few odd looks from my traveling mates. After I had let out my excitement I decided the best thing to do would be to travel to the closest community that welcomed run away slaves. I started walking but my walking quickly turned into running as I neared my new home.

Five Years Later

I arrived at work early this morning. My boss was thinking about giving me a promotion into head teacher. I was very excited so I decided to show him I was capable by coming in early and getting a start on some things that had to be done. A couple hours later my students started to arrive. By the end of the day I was exhausted, but unlike on the plantation I enjoyed my job. I went to my boss’s office to receive my weekly pay. I opened the door and he had my paycheck sitting on his desk. I grabbed it and started to walk away. “Lily.” He called me back. I turned around trying not to get to hopeful. “I think you deserve the promotion…” I said thank you after our conversation and left the cafe, giddy with joy. I arrived home to my husband and my 4 children. Life is good.

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