Tubman's organizing ability was key to her success -- she had to work with supporters on the clandestine Underground Railroad, as well as get messages to the slaves, since she met them away from their plantations to avoid detection. They usually left on a Saturday evening, as the Sabbath might delay anyone noticing their absence for another day, and if anyone did note their flight, the Sabbath would certainly delay anyone from organizing an effective pursuit or publishing a reward.
Tubman was only about five feet tall, but she was smart and she was strong -- and she carried a long rifle. She used the rifle not only to intimidate pro-slavery people they might meet, but also to keep any of the slaves from backing out. She threatened any who seemed like they were about to leave, telling them that "dead Negroes tell no tales." A slave who returned from one of these trips could betray too many secrets: who had helped, what paths the flight had taken, how messages were passed..
Quakers Released Slaves
Not only did many Quakers release their slaves, but they saw to it that they could take care of themselves, teaching them to read and write and, in many cases, seeing that they were escorted to states or territories where they could live in freedom.
Quaker John Woolman was involved with the abolitionist movement from an early date. He traveled the countryside, preaching against slavery. Woolman, born in 1720, became convinced that slavery was wrong when, at the age 20, he was asked by his employer to write a bill of sale for a slave girl. He did write it, but told his boss that he “believed slave-keeping to be a practice inconsistent with the Christian religion.” Shortly after this incident, Woodman left his job to travel and was instrumental in spreading the abolitionist message.
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