defined as 'the strip of land between northern and southern
states' now extended to include the border slave and free
states as 'the true battleground of the UGRR'.
"What I am
bringing to your attention ... is a strip of land between
northern and southern states which I call the Borderland. In
my particular instance it was between Kentucky and Ohio,
with the Ohio River flowing between ... It was through this
Borderland that slaves made their way going north to Canada"
- John Parker, Ripley, Ohio (ex Slave and Conductor on the
Parker's definition, the Borderland included the border
slave states: Missouri, Kansas, Kentucky, Virginia, Maryland
and Delaware, and the free states immediately to the north:
Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and
In this region,
fugitive slaves negotiated the perilous passage from slave
to free territory. Also, in this region, free African
Americans were most numerous and conflicts between pro- and
anti-slavery advocates were most intense. In this respect,
the Borderland was the true battleground of the Underground
Stuart S. ed., 'His Promised Land: The Autobiography of John
P. Parker, Former Slave and Conductor on the Underground
Railroad'. New York, W.W. Norton, 1996.
'Encyclopedia of The Underground Railroad'. Published by McFarland & Company Inc, 2006.
J. Blaine, 'Fugitive Slaves and The Underground Railroad in
the Kentucky Borderland'. Published by McFarland & Company