The Underground Railroad was the name given to a secret network of houses and people who illegally helped escaping slaves reach safety in the non-slave states or Canada in the period before the American Civil War.
It was also called the Liberty Line. The name also referred to the escape routes through the North as well as some that led south to other countries. Many people who believed that slavery was wrong offered their homes, churches, and services to the Underground Railroad.
The Underground Railroad began in the 1780s under the Quakers. Northern free blacks played an important role in planning, communication, and decision making within the network. The Underground Railroad was most active in Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Ohio, and existed in most states in the North.
It is estimated that between 50,000 and 100,000 escaped slaves were aided by the Underground Railroad.