Kids with statue of Frederick Douglas, courtesy of AKWAABA
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  things to do: Underground Railroad
The story of the Underground Railroad is intimately tied to New York's canals. Thoughout the Corridor, you'll discover travel routes, hiding places, safe houses, and destinations for African Americans seeking to escape slavery in the 1800s.

find sites with our Network to Freedom map >>
Network to Freedom

When it opened in 1825, the Erie Canal connected the Atlantic Seaboard with the interior of the continent via the Great Lakes, opening the country to settlement and development like never before. New York’s canals transformed transportation, economic development, and communication across New York and throughout the U.S.
In addition to shipping goods, New York’s canals transported people and ideas. The significant mixing of people from all over the world lead to rapid cultural evolution and the development of key national reform movements. It is no accident that many canal communities became hotspots for the abolition of slavery or that the first women’s rights convention happened in the canal village of Seneca Falls.
Many African Americans used the Erie, Champlain, Oswego, and Cayuga-Seneca Canals as routes for escaping from slavery. For some, the canals became pathways to freedom in Canada. Other African Americans settled in canal towns. Many Americans kept safe houses near the canals to assist people who escaped from slavery on the Underground Railroad.

  Historical dramatization, AKWAABA, Rochester  
The Erie Canalway's Underground Railroad Program earned National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom designation from the National Park Service in 2011.
This is the gold standard for museums, programs and resources related to the interpretation and promotion of the
Underground Railroad.


  Learn More about the canal and its influence on social movements.
download a report [pdf] on the history of the Erie Canal and the Underground Railroad.

Freedom Trail of Auburn and Cayuga County, NY
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I Love New York Underground Railroad
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National Underground Railroad: Network to Freedom
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Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Area
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Research on the UGRR in Oswego County
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