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Iowa Public Television's "Iowa Underground Railroad Route," 1977

    Embedded Resource

Courtesy of Iowa Public Television, “The Civil War,” The Iowa Heritage: Program #5 - Iowa Public Television, 1977


This brief video excerpt from Iowa Public Television's "Civil War" program focuses on enslaved people seeking freedom through the Underground Railroad that included Iowa cities such as Tabor, Lewis, Des Moines, Grinnell, Iowa City, West Liberty, Low Moor and Clinton. Most of the slaves who passed through the Iowa escape network entered from Missouri or Kansas. The main route through Iowa started in Tabor. Quakers were strongly opposed to slavery and a number of their homes in Salem and Keosauqua became ticket offices on the Underground Railroad. Many towns later claimed to be, and probably were, stops on the Underground Railroad. The route was occasionally changed to throw off southern boundary hunters, who tracked down the escapees for money.

Source-Dependent Questions

  • Why would the route of the Underground Railroad need to be changed?
  • After watching both videos, describe the danger for both the escaped enslave people and the abolitionists.

Citation Information 

"The Civil War," The Iowa Heritage: Program #5 - Iowa Public Television, 1977. Courtesy of Iowa Public Television