Oxford AASC: Photo Essay

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PHOTO ESSAY

The Underground Railroad

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Mission to Fugitive Slaves

Courtesy of the Library of Congress

The photo above, dating from the late 1850s, shows a teacher from the Mission to the Fugitive Slaves in Canada alongside her students. Under the supervision of the Colonial and Continental Church Society, an Anglican organization founded in 1823, the Mission educated children of escaped American slaves settled in southwestern Ontario. The photo was contained in a report sent to church headquarters in England in 1859. The instructor, "Mistress Williams," provides a detailed description of each child a third of the way into the sixty-four-page report; included are the harrowing details of each child's arrival to Canada. Lizzie L., the girl to the left of Williams, escaped with her family from Maryland by "walking by night" and "hiding in the bush by day." Going through Pittsburgh and Detroit, it took three weeks to reach Ontario.

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