Underground Railroad

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Guilford County played an important role in the Underground Railroad. It was in a wooded area on what is now the Guilford College campus that the railroad began, and a historical marker commemorating the event is on W. Friendly Avenue beside the Guilford College campus.

The library has many books, both for adults and children, on the railroad. These are in the North Carolina Collection.

Blockson, Charles L., Hippocrene Guide to the Underground Railroad
This travel guide, arranged by area of the country and then by state, describes sites connected with the Underground Railroad. While the North Carolina entry is short, it does include a page summarizing the leaders and stations in our state, and it refers to the state Travel and Tourism Division in Raleigh for information about the birthplace of Levi Coffin, often called “President of the Underground Railroad,” on US 421 in Greensboro.

The book’s greatest use may be in indicating sites in other states, in the five-page Chronology, in the information about songs used as signals on the railroad, and in the list of organizations giving Underground Railroad tours.

Bordewich, Fergus M., Bound for Canaan
This overview includes a chapter entitled “The Hand of God in North Carolina.” It tells the stories of Guilford County’s Levi and Vestal Coffin.

Cockrum, William M., History of the Underground Railroad, as it Was Conducted by the
Anti-Slavery League, Including Many Thrilling Encounters Between Those Aiding the Slaves to Escape and Those Trying to Recapture Them
This book is based on the personal experiences of the author during his work with the Anti-Slavery League and includes information gathered from other people involved in the same type of work. Chapter titles include “Battle with Wild Hogs,” “Slaves Escape While Owners Sleep,” and “Releasing Kidnapped Negroes.” While the action centers around Indiana, the book offers first-hand information.

Coffin, Levi., Reminiscences of Levi Coffin, the Reputed President of the Underground Railroad
Coffin was a leader in the Underground Railroad here in Guilford County. This is an abridged and edited edition, but the library also owns the original 1876 edition.

Haskins, James, and Kathleen Benson, Following Freedom’s Star: The Story of the Underground Railroad
Written for children, this book tells the story of the Underground Railroad through pictures and text.

Sawyer, Kem Knapp, The Underground Railroad in American History
This version, suitable for younger readers, includes a general history of the Underground Railroad, as well as illustrations, maps, and stories of some of the conductors.