Ticket to Freedom

The Underground Railroad is a well-known aspect of African American history. Slaves would follow the Drinking Gourd (the Big Dipper) as a guide to lead them to the north. Runaways would travel at night and mostly during the winter season so the could avoid slave trackers.

I first heard about the story of Ellen and William Craft on an episode of The Dollop Podcast . Ellen was the illegitimate child of and was so light skin she was mistaken for white. She and her husband, William, Escape From Slavery by disguising Ellen as a injured white man and William posed as Ellen slave. Though their journey Ellen made sure to only allow William to speak for her so that her voice would not give them away and wrapped herself in bandages to hide in plain sight. The two took multiple trains from Georgia to Philadelphia, successfully escaping to their freedom. Smithsonian magazine wrote an article on their story. I encourage you to read it.  

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Follow the Map

The Green Book
Follow the Map, Oil on Canvas, 42″ x 36″

The Negro Motorist Green Book, or Green Books as they were often referred to as, was used by Black families when the needed to travel through segregated America. The Green Book was created by Victor Green, each book had a state by state list of accommodations that would house everyone. My grandmother says she remembers using Green Books as a young child when her family travels. In my copy some states, like Texas, are not even listed in the index.

I noticed that some of the states not listed just so happened to be the same states that Blacks migrated from during the Great Migration (1917-70). On the map I painted those states a dark navy, the mid range blue states are the more neutral states, and the brightest colored states are were Black families migrated to.