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Abolition and the Underground Railroad in Vermont

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Producer: 
02/12/2014

Many believe that support for the abolition of slavery was universally accepted in Vermont, but it was actually a fiercely divisive issue that rocked the Green Mountain State. In the midst of turbulence and violence, though, some brave Vermonters helped fight for the freedom of their enslaved Southern brethren. Thaddeus Stevens—one of abolition’s most outspoken advocates—was a Vermont native. Delia Webster, the first woman arrested for aiding a fugitive slave, was also a Vermonter. The Rokeby house in Ferrisburgh was a busy Underground Railroad station for decades. Peacham’s Oliver Johnson worked closely with William Lloyd Garrison during the abolition movement. Discover the stories of these and others in Vermont who risked their own lives to help more than four thousand slaves to freedom.

Michelle Arnosky Sherburne lives with her husband and son in Newbury, Vermont. She is a Vermont historian and has spent years researching the Underground Railroad and the Civil War, lecturing at schools and local organizations. Michelle co-authored A Vermont Hill Town in the Civil War: Peacham’s Story and is a freelance writer for newspapers and magazines. She works at a weekly newspaper when not on history quests.