Underground Railroad Network to Freedom: Facts

Last Updated: Augustus Memorial October 2011

The Underground Railroad was the name given to the informal, early 19th century network of routes, safe houses, and allies, that helped guide enslaved Africans and African Americans during their escape from slavery to freedom. The Underground Railroad "ran" not just from the southern United States, north and into Canada, but west to Mexico and California, south into the Caribbean, and to a variety of international destinations that also held the promise of freedom.

A Congressional Mandate to Honor Resistance to Slavery

The National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom program (NTF), was established by the National Park Service in July of 1998 (Public Law 105-203), to increase public knowledge and understanding of the Underground Railroad. The NTF matches Park Service resources (time, people, and when available, grant money) with local expertise thus enabling communities, institutions, and national park units all across the United States to more capably tell their part of the Underground Railroad story. The NTF program currently has over 400 partners (sites, programs, and facilities) in 32 states and the District of Columbia.

Helping the National Park Service Save African American History

After raising the authorized funding level for the Network to $2.5 million, Congress increased the operating budget of the program to $866,000 for FY 2011. The increase erases the crippling deficit that had threatened the future of the program. NPCA applauds the budget increase for the NTF program and we continue to urge Congress to support this unique program.

Learn More About the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program

Contact Alan Spears at 202.454.3384 or aspears@npca.org.

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