Virginia Waterways and the Underground Railroad

Reviewed by Sandra Merville Hart

This book by Cassandra L. Newby-Alexander, PhD gives some historical background of slavery in Virginia. Much of the book gives accounts of folks who escaped slavery and how they accomplished it.

The author shows that many of the freedom seekers escaped on small vessels and steamships on Virginia’s tidal rivers like the James, York, and the Potomac.

I found this book informative, well-organized, and well-researched. Lots of helpful facts were included, such as laws and the years they were passed. For example, free blacks were able to purchase the freedom of relatives after the passage of a 1782 law.

The discussion of the Underground Railroad was helpful as were the charts, photos, maps, and sketches.

The Underground Railroad is a topic in Byway to Danger, Book 3 in my “Spies of the Civil War” series.

Recommended for those desiring to learn more about the history of slavery.

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