Sappey introduces resolution designating September as International Underground Railroad Month

HARRISBURG, Sept. 13 – State Rep. Christina Sappey has introduced a resolution designating September 2021 as “International Underground Railroad Month” in recognition of the pivotal role that Pennsylvania played in the abolition movement during the 19th century via the Underground Railroad.

“Pennsylvania, and Chester County in particular, played a crucial role in assisting enslaved people flee to freedom via the Underground Railroad,” said Sappey, D-Chester. “Our commonwealth was dotted and crossed with hundreds of safehouses, escape routes and hiding places. Who were the heroes of the Underground Railroad? Everyone from political leaders to ordinary citizens, as well as former slaves--known as ‘stationmasters’--who would risk their own hard-won freedom to help their loved ones escape.

“It’s critical to recognize the importance of the Underground Railroad in Pennsylvania’s history, not only for the sake of those who put their lives on the line so that all Americans could be free before the Civil War, but also to remember that in Pennsylvania the fight for the true freedom of all people is still being fought.”

Pennsylvania has a long history of freedom seekers and abolitionists, and H.R. 980 would honor their stories:

  • The American Anti-Slavery Society was an interracial organization dedicated to the entire abolition of slavery in the United States. This society was founded in Philadelphia in 1833.
  • In 1838, the General Assembly deprived Black men of their established rights to vote. African Americans in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia and their allies advocated for the restoration of their right to vote 32 years before the ratification of the 15th Amendment, showing Pennsylvania valued and advocated for civil and human rights.
  • In 1851 freedom seekers and abolitionists defended their freedom at Christiana in Lancaster County.
  • The Underground Railroad traced across Pennsylvania with lecturers and a series of safe houses, agents, conductors and stations in a network that helped freedom seekers realize their freedom in Pennsylvania and elsewhere.

Questions about the resolution may be directed to Sappey’s office by calling 484-200-8264.