This Man’s Memoir Became The Most Important Documentary Resource On The Underground Railroad

0 Posted by - April 8, 2018 - LATEST POSTS

William Still (1821-1902) was a free black who went on to become the chairman of the Pennsylvania Vigilance Committee. Still was arguably the most important figure in the nation’s Underground Railroad coalition — with a far-flung network of correspondents and participants. He began as a clerk in the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Office before taking over the vigilance operation in 1852. He kept meticulous records of slave names, freedman’s names, history of flight, etc. He later published his records as part of a memoir in 1872 that still stands as the most important documentary resource on the history of the Underground Railroad. During the Civil War, Still founded a coal supply company and helped provide supplies for black soldiers in the Union Army. The coal company remained successful after the war, and Still used his newfound status as a respected businessman to become a major community leader in Philadelphia.

Source: Underground Railroad Digital Classroom: Profiles

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