In Parts 1 and 2 of the series, we investigated the beginnings and the foundations of slavery and the operation of a covert system of the movement of fugitives through the area known as the Underground Railroad. Let us now look at the truth and consequences of this activity.

As part of the federal “legislative horse trading” that led to the Compromise of 1850, another fugitive slave provision was included in the bill that proved be to a major setback for the abolition of slavery. As a consequence of the second Fugitive Slave Law, northerners and southerners were required to return runaway slave to owners and slaves were not allowed testify in courts of law.

Cyril Ackerman is secretary of the Cumberland Township Historical Society.

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