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Episode Info: In the 19th century, a network of abolitionists and sympathizers in Boston helped enslaved African Americans find their way to freedom in the Northern states or Canada. It’s a topic we’ve talked about before, but this time there’s a twist. We’re going to be examining how Boston’s position as an important port city changed the dynamic of seeking freedom. Jake sat down with National Park Service ranger Shawn Quigley to discuss how the underground railroad ran right through Boston Harbor. Please support us on Patreon and check out the full show notes at: The Maritime Underground Railroad The header image is from Austin Bearse’s memoir Reminiscences of the Fugitive Slave Law Days in Boston, and it’s captioned “Landing a fugitive slave at Drake’s Wharf, South Boston, from the yacht Moby Dick, Captain Austin Bearse, on the night of July 18, 1853.” Shawn refers to the hand of Jonathan Walker, which was branded with SS for “Slave Stealer.” Broadside for the 1859 annual meeting of the Massachusetts Anti Slavery Society. Portrait of Austin Bearse. A beautifully detailed 1878 Boston Harbor navigational chart and a “balloon view” of the harbor from about the same time, showing the relative positions of the various Harbor Islands and the main shipping channels. If you haven’t listened to it in the past, check out our three part special on Boston’s resistance to the Fugitive Slave Act from the early days of our podcast. Boston Book Club As long as we’re talking about the Harbor Islands today, we thought it would make sense to share a guidebook with you. As we may have mentioned before, the Harbor Islands are some of our favorite places in Greater Boston. Whether we’re sitting around a bonfire on the beach and watching the sun set behind the Boston skyline, skipping stones on quiet waters, or crawling into the hidden passages of a World War I era fort, exploring the Harbor Islands is a great way to spend a day. Discovering the Boston Harbor Islands by Christopher Klein is arranged as an island by island guide, focusing on the geography and available recreational opportunities on each one. The whole thing is richly illustrated with photos, maps, and historic images. There are long historical sidebars about events that took place on different islands, as well as commentary on modern environmental challenges. Here’s how the publisher’s website describes the book: Discovering the Boston Harbor Islands is an indispensable resource for those who want to uncover the best kept secret in the Northeast. Part history, part travel guide, this book is the most compelling invitation to explore the Boston Harbor Islands National Park area to date. Complete with resource listings of recreational activities on and around the harbor islands and richly illustrated with over 150 full-color photographs, Christopher Klein’s comprehensive coverage and keen wit are sure to inspire thousands of landlubbers and m...
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