Slave rebellions and protests were not assisting enslaved Africans in America in gaining their freedom, so they devised more forceful methods of obtaining their freedom. It didn’t take long after several attempts and ideas for the Underground Railroad System to be established between the mid-18th and early 19th centuries.
Secret escape routes were developed with the assistance of abolitionists and freed slaves to assist slaves in escaping harsh conditions in the South and achieving freedom in the North or Canada, where they would be given lands and jobs to help them start a new life. The routes were commonly referred to as the Underground Railway.
The loss of slaves and labor on plantations owned by white enslavers began to have an impact on their production and income, and it was not long before anti-abolitionists devised the Reverse Underground Railroad system, in which escaped slaves were recaptured and returned to their plantations or sold to new owners.
The Reverse Underground Railroad system was a huge success, and many anti-abolitionists pretended to be abolitionists eager to help fugitive slaves. Many of the recaptured slaves were imprisoned in houses, attacked, and injured in order to keep them from fleeing. Those who resisted were killed.
The Underground Railroad System quickly became a dangerous route, but many desperate slaves risked their lives to reach freedom.
It took the bravery of freed slaves like Aunt Polly Jackson to fight anti-abolitionists and assist fugitives in escaping or hiding to continue their journey to freedom.
After extensive research, little is known about Aunt Polly Jackson, the middle-aged woman who bravely fought whites who captured free fugitive slaves.
Aunt Polly Jackson, a former slave herself, was fed up with the harsh treatment she received even in her old age and decided to flee to freedom.
She escaped via the Underground Railroad and ended up in the North, settling in Ohio in a settlement known as Africa. Africa was a settlement of escaped African Americans who had been offered land to settle near Ripley, Ohio. After resting, fugitives could choose to stay or continue up North along the Underground Railway route. Aunt Polly, an anti-slavery activist, was offered land and settled in Africa, where she started a small farm to support herself.
As they fled, fugitives frequently passed through her land to the north, and she witnessed the various anti-abolitionist attacks. Aunt Polly decided to take matters into her own hands to protect, rescue, and help runaway slaves after realizing that they were not being helped by any external means.
She disguised herself as a frail older woman who would not be attacked. Older people were of no interest to anti-abolitionists and were frequently left alone. She was carrying a cloth wrapped around her shoulder to conceal her butcher knife and a kettle of boiling water. Aunt Polly used her kitchen weapons to fight off several slave capturers along the Underground Railroad.
Many of her attacks occurred at night, and she frequently poured hot water on slave hunters who could not be defeated with a single knife.
She hosted the fugitives in her home after dealing with the anti-abolitionists and provided them with guidance if they chose to continue their journey.
The legend of Aunt Polly spread quickly, and several similar attacks on white enslavers along the Underground Railway route began.
Attacks became more lethal, resulting in the deaths of many white slave hunters, but Aunty Polly Jackson’s tricks aided in the suppression of the Reverse Railroad System.