Become a Fugitive Slave on the Underground Railroad at Conner Prairie

Conner Prairie Living History MuseumWhat would you risk for your freedom? The Conner Prairie Follow The North Star experience allows you to become a fugitive slave on the Underground Railroad. Experience from what it was like to risk everything for your freedom.

This is truly living history, experienced from a first-person perspective. It is an escape from the everyday, familiar world. The experience starts as you escape captivity on your quest for a new life. Along the way, a sympathetic Quaker family will help you elude slave hunters, as you make your way to freedom as a fugitive slave.

The history behind Follow The North Star can be traced to the civil war era, when escaping slaves had to make their way to the northern, abolitionist states such as New York and Massachusetts, and eventually Indiana.

By the time Indiana became a state in 1816, the abolitionists had seized control, and slavery was banned in the constitution. It was at this time that the state shared a border state with the southern slave states.

Fugitive slaves would making their way north, with Canada as the ultimate destination, since slavery was illegal there. To ensure they travelled in a northerly direction, they relied on various cues, such as the existence of moss on the north face of trees and birds migrating north for the summer. But one of the best cues was the North Star itself. Also known as Polaris, the North Star is unique among stars in that it never changes its position in the sky. Because it always points north it served as one of the most reliable indicators of direction. The North Star was also a 19th-century abolitionist newspaper published by Frederick Douglass until June 1851.

The Follow The North Star experience has won numerous awards nationwide. It is the product of years of historic research into one of the nation’s most compelling periods. It provides first-hand experience in a way that passively watching a movie cannot.

Around 60,000 people have participated in the Follow The North Star experience over the past decade and a half. It’s a great opportunity for families, social groups, schools, churchess and even corporate groups to learn about history in a way that is interactive, educational and fun.

The program takes place in all kinds of weather.

Event Info:

  • April 12-13, 19-20 & 26-27, 2013
  • Conner Prairie, 13400 Allisonville Rd., Fishers, Indiana 46038
  • Tel. 317.776.6006
  • Website