Underground Railroad To Mexico: U.S. Slaves Escaped To Freedom South Of The Border
The Fugitive Slave, painted by John Adam Houston. Superstock/Everett.
Tejanos led escaped slaves to freedom on the underground railroad to Mexico.
Mexico refused to sign an escaped slave treaty with the U.S. - "All people were free when they set foot in Mexico."
According to History.com, researchers report evidence that 5,000 to 10,000 escaped slaves fled to freedom in Mexico, where slavery was abolished in 1829, over 30 years before it was abolished in the U.S.
Slaveholders knew that enslaved people were escaping to Mexico, and the U.S. tried to get Mexico to sign a fugitive slave treaty. But Mexico refused to sign such a treaty, insisting that all enslaved people were free when they set foot on Mexican soil. https://t.co/Qg9YK4kgjh— HISTORY (@HISTORY) February 12, 2019
Escaped slaves traveled south on foot, on horse, aboard ferries, even across the Rio Grande floating on bales of cotton.
Very little is known about the underground railroad to Mexico because it was incredibly dangerous and secrecy was essential. If caught, escaped slaves, and even those helping them, would be brutalized and lynched.
We do know, however, that tejano "conductors" helped get escaped slaves from many different states to freedom in Mexico.
Mexico provided a safe haven for escaped slaves, even going so far as to provide land for them to settle down, land which still belongs to their descendants today.