Jordyn McLean, Guest Writer

           No! Mama, no! Don’t leave me, Papa! Please! Ruth! Suzanne! Noooo! These memories cloud my thoughts every night before I go to sleep. At seven years old, my family was stripped from my life in the blink of an eye. We were taken to an auction, and no one wanted to buy all five of us together. We were all sold to a different slave owner. I have not seen any of my family since that day.

Life in Montgomery, Alabama, is hard. My owner, Master John Stevens, hates me. He treats me horribly. His wife, Mary, abhors me as well. She does absolutely nothing and criticizes me when I do not finish a task in the amount of time she thinks it should be done. My best friend, Abigail, keeps me rational in this insane home. She lives right down the road from me. Her owners treat her just as bad as mine. Abigail and I meet up every night to talk and reminisce on the good times we had with our families. We have a lot in common; her family separated when she was seven and she has a brother and sister. Lately, our main subject of conversation has been about Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad. Apparently, this woman named Harriet Tubman has led tons of slaves along the Underground Railroad to freedom in the North. Tonight, Abigail and I must to try and find a way to escape along the Underground Railroad.


“Hey, Abby!”

“Hey, Bets!”

“How’s it goin’?”

“Same ‘ol, same ‘ol. What ‘bout yaself?”

“Ya already know. Well, let’s get started right away. How we gone escape?”

“I reckon we talk to these other slaves and see what they know. We need more information ‘bout this Harriet Tubman and Underground Railroad.”

“I agree. Let’s see what we can find out on our own, ‘n come back tomorrow ta see what we’ve got.”

I tried to sleep, but brainstorming ways to escape from this horrendous life encaptivated my mind. The field slaves for Master Stevens told me that Harriet Tubman, a conductor, leads this mysterious Underground Railroad. She would come down to the deep South and sneak out as many slaves as she could along the Underground Railroad all the way to Canada. Then she would come right back and do it all again. She sounded like a Nat Turner to me. They also said that she should be on her way back to get more people! I cannot wait to tell Abby! We have to get ready to escape!


“Abby! Ya won’t believe what I’m ‘boutta tell ya!”

“What is it, Bets?”

“Me and the field slaves was talkin’, and they say this Harriet Tubman’s headin’ our way! We’ve gotta be ready to escape with her from this hellhole! And who knows, we might be able to meet Frederick Douglass!”

“Why, thassa grand idea! But, there’s a big ‘ol problem ya seem to be overlookin’, Bets. How we gone escape from our Massas? They be watchin’ us like a hawk. There ain’t no way we gone be able to escape with them eyein’ us down all the dang time!”

“You is right, Ab. Well, I guess that give us reason’a start plannin’ how we gone escape from their watch. I reckon we start thinkin’ of ways to get away from ‘em, huh?”

“You betcha. Oh look over yonder, ya Massa’s comin’ this way. I guess I’ll be headin’ home now. Be thinkin’ tonight; we can talk tomorrow.”

“Sure thang.”

As I walk home, I try to come up with ways to escape. This is going to be harder than we thought.


After a few days of brainstorming and the help of fellow slaves, Abigail and I come up with a brilliant plan. Harriet should arrive in two days, and the route she travels through is about five miles away. Since both Abby and my Master know that we talk every evening, meeting up will not be hard. Once we are together, some of the field slaves will cause a scene by getting into a “fight”, which will distract our Masters. Abby and I will casually make our way farther and farther away, until we cannot be seen. Then, we will run the five miles as fast as we can through the woods. The only things we are taking with us are two dresses and two head wraps. We plan on doing this tomorrow night so we can be ready for Harriet when she comes. I really do hope that everything goes as planned.


“Abigail, I’ve neva been more afraid’n ma life. What if they see us? What if we die?”

“Betsey, thas tha last thing we need‘a be worried “bout. Look on tha bright side. When we make it through the woods, we’ll be free! God will protect us, I know it. Don’t be scared of nothin’.”

“You’s right, Abby. Look, the field slaves fightin’! We gotta go!”

“Be real calm, hear me? Now start walkin’ slowly towards them woods. We just walkin’ and talkin’, thas it. Just a few more steps ‘till we outta eyesight. C’mon, Bets, slow’n steady. Alright, I think we good. Run, Betsey, and don’t you turn back! Run as fast as your feet can take you! Let’s go!”

Boom! Boom boom boom! Pop! Pop! Booooom!

“They shootin’, Abby! They comin’ after us! Oh Lord Jesus, help us! Please, God!”

“Run faster, Bets! Our lives on the line! Don’t turn ‘round, keep going forward! We almost in the clear!”


“I think we good, Betsey. They turned ‘round a while back. And look! That must be Harriet! Run along, now; we is free!”


Looking back, I am amazed that we escaped without getting caught. Only the grace of God allowed us to make it. I have an incomprehensible joy within me. Since the escape, I have found my siblings, married, and had two kids. Abby has not found her family, but she got married and had two children as well. 5 years ago, I would have never thought that my life would turn out like this. All praise to the Lord.



Childress, Alice. When the Rattlesnake Sounds. New York Coward, McCann and Geoghegan Inc. New York, 1975. Print.

Still, William. The Underground Railroad. New York Johnson Publishing Company: New York, 1970. Print.

McEntee, Grace. Underground Railroad Flourishes. Great Events from History: The Nineteenth Century, edited by John Powell, Salem, 2007. Salem Online, Accessed 9 April 2019.

Marszalek, John F. Harriet Tubman. Great Lives from History: The Nineteenth Century, edited by John Powell, Salem, 2007. Salem Online, Accessed 9 April 2019.

“Underground Railroad Terminology.” National Park Service, Accessed 9 April 2019.

“Harriet Tubman, the Moses of her People.” Premium WordPress Themes, 2019. Accessed 10 April 2019.

“Underground Railroad.” A&E Television Networks, 2019. Accessed 14 April 2019.