This interactive digital map showcases the people and places associated with the Underground Railroad in Boston. While featuring notable safe houses and Underground Railroad operatives, this map also highlights sites of public protest and concerted action against the fugitive slave laws. Additionally, it captures places of heroic rescues as well as sites tied to harrowing arrests and rendition. By elevating these once covert places and stories, we hope to put the Underground Railroad "back on the map" and encourage further exploration and engagement with Boston's unique role in this inspiring movement.
Zoom in and click on various points to learn more about Underground Railroad history in Boston. Due to the close proximity of some sites, the map displays them in clusters and not necessarily at their exact geographical coordinates. Click on the clusters to explore more information about the specific points. Additionally, some sites are marked at approximate locations due to changes in the Boston landscape since the 1850s.
While much of this research project draws from scholarly books and articles, we consulted many primary sources, such as newspapers and transcripts of speeches, as well. The most helpful of these primary sources are the records of the various Boston Vigilance Committees. Dedicated to assisting freedom seekers in Boston, these committees kept detailed records which often cited who they helped and where they stayed in the city.
Most of these sites, particularly ones in Beacon Hill, remain private residences and we ask you to kindly respect our neighbors and their property. However, several stops including Faneuil Hall and the Museum of African American History’s African Meeting House are open to the public.