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Vignette Details

Neuse River

NEW BERN, North Carolina

On the Neuse River, located in the Craven County region of eastern North Carolina, maritime Underground Railroad activities were rigorous. These endeavors were comprised of an intricate network of enslaved African Americans, free blacks, white people, and women, assisting each other to identify a means of escape. Northerners and foreigners of various occupations, a majority being seamen themselves, working and living together were also instrumental in identifying sympathetic watermen, regardless of race, to arrange safe passage on vessels and ships for freedom seekers along the Neuse River. Enslaved African Americans escaping to visit relatives on other plantations or towns was most important, and one of the main reasons for escape. The significance of the family unit and the concept of community are dominant in the newspaper advertisements for the Neuse River and its contributing tributaries. The majority of these runaway adverstisements posted are for family members visiting each other, hiding each other until flight could safely continue, running to another plantation to take a loved one along for the attempted escape, 'lying-out' near the edge of their plantation or another plantation for extended periods of time, and enslaved and free black people hiding freedom seekers on their plantations.



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