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Sailing to Freedom: A Book Talk

Monday, May 10, 2021 at 5:00pm to 7:00pm

Zoom Contact for link

Sailing to Freedom: Maritime Dimensions of the Underground Railroad: A Book Talk with Timothy Walker, Mirelle Luecke, and Megan Jeffreys.


In 1858, Mary Millburn successfully made her escape from Norfolk, Virginia, to Philadelphia aboard an express steamship. Millburn’s maritime route to freedom was far from uncommon. By the mid-nineteenth century an increasing number of enslaved people had fled northward along the Atlantic seaboard. While scholarship on the Underground Railroad has focused almost exclusively on overland escape routes from the antebellum South, this groundbreaking volume expands our understanding of how freedom was achieved by sea and what the journey looked like for many African Americans.

With innovative scholarship and thorough research, Sailing to Freedom highlights little-known stories and describes the less-understood maritime side of the Underground Railroad, including the impact of African Americans’ paid and unpaid waterfront labor. These ten essays reconsider and contextualize how escapes were managed along the East Coast, moving from the Carolinas, Virginia, and Maryland to safe harbor in northern cities such as Philadelphia, New York, New Bedford, and Boston.

Join us on May 10 at 5pm EDT for a book talk with the book editor Timothy Walker, as well as fellow contributors Mirelle Luecke and Megan Jeffreys. 

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Event Type

Author Appearance



University Themes

Public Engagement


CUHistory, cascal, africal





Contact E-Mail

Contact Name


Contact Phone



Timothy D. Walker, Professor of History, Editor

Speaker Affiliation


Dept. Web Site

Registration Status

Free and Open to the Public, Contact for Zoom Link

Open To

Zoom Event open to the public

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