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Escape of the 28

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In the early years of the 19th century, Denmark Vesey and Nat Turner led rebellions against the institution of slavery. However, most resistance to slavery took the form of running away. At first it was younger, stronger men who emancipated themselves and set off to walk to freedom. As word got back about the best routes north and as free black communities north of the Ohio River were large enough to support a network of assistance, more groups began to escape. An interracial network in Cincinnati, known as the Underground Railroad, continued to grow and be more capable of successfully assisting larger groups in their flight. Newspapers referred to these escapes as “slave stampedes.” One of the largest and best documented flights to freedom began on April 2, 1853 named by Levi Coffin as “The Company of Twenty-Eight Fugitives.”

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