What was the Underground Railroad? Fun Christian history for kids will teach your kids (ages 7-11) about the Underground Railroad.
William Still, the chairman of the Vigilance Committee in Philadelphia, recorded stories of escaped slaves in his book, The Underground Railroad Records. In his book, Still (1821-1902) wrote:
While the grand little army of abolitionists was waging its untiring warfare for freedom, prior to the rebellion, no agency encouraged them like the heroism of fugitives. The pulse of the four millions of slaves and their desire for freedom, were better felt through “The Underground Railroad,” than through any other channel. (page 7)
Throughout the Underground Railroad, faithful Christians worked together to serve God and to love their neighbors. The inspiring stories of both fugitives and those helping them form an important history of a major movement for freedom that your kids will love learning about.
What Was the Underground Railroad?
Have you ever taken a ride on a train? It can be a lot of fun. You board the train at the station, then enjoy the countryside as you race along the line. You disembark right where you intend to arrive.
Taking a ride on the Underground Railroad was a little different.
What Was the Underground Railroad?, Danika Cooley (Christian Focus Publications, 2023), page 16
The Underground Railroad began in the early 1800s, but reached its peak in the United States of America between 1830 and 1860.
Nicknamed for the new mode of transportation in America, the railroad, the Underground Railroad was a secretive system in which volunteers worked to help enslaved people make their way to freedom. Their stories are exciting, and their desire for freedom was compelling. While the United States government–and many of its citizens–was resistant to ending chattel slavery, the Underground Railroad helped force the issue politically while helping people practically. Many Christians, including whole church congregations, were involved with organizing and carrying out the work of the Underground Railroad.
Underground Railroad History
Your kids need to know the answer to What Was the Underground Railroad?. It was an important movement in the history of America.
Take a look at some of the events which occurred during and because of the Underground Railroad:
- In the 1820s, African Americans began to set up vigilance committees to aid freedom seekers.
- In 1831, railroad travel became possible in America with the 100-mile long Mohawk & Hudson Railroad. The Underground Railroad earns its name after the escape of Tice Davids.
- In 1835, there are 46 pro-slavery riots in America.
- Between 1840 and 1860, the U.S. government increases laws that endanger black people in America, both enslaved and free with legislation like the 1840 Gag Rule, the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act, and the 1857 Dred Scott Decision.
- Fought between 1861 and 1865, the American Civil War ends slavery in the United States.
- Passed between 1865 and 1870, the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution expand freedom and prohibit racial discrimination.
The Underground Railroad was an illegal movement, run primarily by Christians–both black and white–seeking to obey God’s Word. It was a movement that, ultimately led to the freedom of more than four million individuals.
In learning about the Underground Railroad, our kids can see the impact ordinary Christians can have on the lives of their neighbors.
The Underground Railroad | History for Kids
In a fun and engaging tone, the narrative Christian history book What Was the Underground Railroad? will help your kids see how God sovereignly arranged events to allow ordinary Christians to overcome a terrible injustice. Your kids will learn the stories of many followers of Jesus who contributed to the freedom of others, and read stories of those who escaped enslavement. They’ll see, too, how those same ordinary Christians were willing to sacrifice their own comfort, freedom, and even lives in pursuit of justice for their fellow human beings.
What Was the Underground Railroad? chapters:
- Introduction: Modern Trains and Ancient Slavery
- Chapter One: This Way to Freedom
- Chapter Two: Paying for Tickets
- Chapter Three: A Place to Rest
- Chapter Four: The Light is On
- Chapter Five: All Aboard
- Chapter Six: Last Stop
- Chapter Seven: Underground Railroad: The Truth
People who obey God, not man, change the course of history. They don’t change it all at once. No, history is changed just a little at a time.
What Was the Underground Railroad?, Danika Cooley (Christian Focus Publications, 2021), page 79
Fabulously illustrated by Martyn Smith, the Who What Why series books are each 95 pages long with 8-9 chapters, perfect for your middle grade (ages 8-11) readers. The fun narrative makes each book an engaging family read aloud, but kids will love, too, that they can read the books on their own.
In fun sidebars, your kids will also learn about:
- Ending Enslavement
- Not Every Train Goes North
- Extra Postage – Henry Brown
- Hiding in Plain Sight – Ellen and William Craft
- Changing Minds – “Eliza”
- Enslaved to Free Others – Arnold Gragston
- The Above Ground Railroad
- God’s Word: The Truth
What Was the Underground Railroad? is a fun way for kids to learn about a movement which changed history, freed captives, and helped lead to the freedom of all enslaved Americans.
Purchase What Was the Underground Railroad?
Bible Resources for Your Kids
Christian Biographies for Kids | Christian History for Kids | Theology for Kids
Christian History Matters for Our Kids.
History matters. Now, more than ever, we see how important it is for our children to know and understand history and the Bible.
- God is the sovereign ruler of all things. It’s important for our kids to see his hand in the history of nations and in the lives of both peasants and kings.
- Christian history is the story of our family history. Our kids get to see how people who love Jesus follow him.
- Understanding history can help our kids learn historic and biblical theology. They learn what the Bible says and what that means for us. They also see when the study of Scripture has taken important turns that have changed the Church.
- Reading Christian biographies and history can be a wonderful way for kids to think outside their own time and culture. God’s Church spans centuries and includes people from every nation.
- Christian biographies help kids consider their own faith, walk with Jesus, and the impact their witness may one day have on others–and on history.
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