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Image of the Jackson family, 1846
The Jackson Family, 1846, from a daguerreotype by Whipple of Boston

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The Jackson Homestead -- Station on the Underground Railroad
A Local Legacy

If you were an escaped slave before the Civil War the best way to travel was along the Underground Railroad. This wasn't a real railroad but a secret system located throughout the Northern states. The system helped escaped slaves from the South reach places of safety in the North or in Canada, often called the "Promised Land," because U.S. slave laws could not be enforced there. The slaves often wore disguises and traveled in darkness on the "railroad." Railway terms were used in the secret system: Routes were called "lines," stopping places were called "stations," and people who helped escaped slaves along the way were "conductors." One of the most famous "conductors" on the Underground Railroad was Harriet Tubman (an "Amazing American"), a former slave who escaped from Maryland.

William Jackson's house in Newton, Massachusetts, was a "station" on the Underground Railroad. The Jacksons were abolitionists, people who worked to end slavery. Today, the Jackson House is a museum with a large collection of historical objects and documents that are used for research into Newton's past.

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