The Underground Railroad, Part 1
Jack arrives at Whit’s End one morning to find a visitor waiting for him to open. The visitor’s name is Carl Ross. He says he’s the curator for a museum in Chicago. He wants to look around because he believes that Whit’s End may have historical significance. Jack is intrigued. Carl asks if the building has any tunnels underneath it. Jack explains that there is a little-known tunnel that connects the downstairs workroom with the middle of the woods on the edge of McAlister Park.
Hearing this, Carl looks as if he’s about to faint. Jack asks if he is all right, and Carl explains the reason for his excitement: The tunnel and Whit’s End itself may have been a stop on the Underground Railroad! Jack shows Carl the tunnel and asks why Carl believes it played a part in freeing runaway slaves. In response, Carl shows Jack an old book, an original manuscript written before the Civil War. The book describes a slave family’s run for freedom. The landmarks and the cities described in the book seem to show that Odyssey was one of the places the family stopped.
Jack asks Carl to tell him the story, and Carl imparts the tale of the Ross family, Henry; his wife, Caroline; and William Ross, their 17-year-old son. They were Tennessee slaves who broke their bonds and escaped to freedom in the North on the Underground Railroad.
- This plot section is too short and should be expanded. »
- Why was the Underground Railroad necessary?
- Why is slavery wrong?
- What does the Bible say about it?
- If you had lived in the pre-Civil War South, would you have helped slaves run away?
- Why or why not?
- What were some of the risks associated with helping slaves escape?
- A 1997 Listener Poll picked this as the top episode.
- Read a behind-the-scenes article on this show!
- The narrative choice to have William sold to Mississippi may have been influenced by Mississippi being writer Marshal Younger's home state.
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