The Church Community

Underground Railroad | FIND Iowa
Jul 21, 2024 | 1:03

Why did freedom seekers stop at white churches instead of Black churches?

Pastors at Black churches and white churches worked together to support freedom seekers.


(Text on screen - The Underground Railroad)

[Dr. Venise Berry, Professor of African American Studies, University of Iowa] Many religious communities in Iowa, both Black and white, were supportive of the abolitionist movement and based on historical records, some actually became stops along the Underground Railroad.

[Rev. Orlando Dial, St. John African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church - Burlington, Iowa] Black churches had an impact on their pastors and white churches and their pastors in helping them understand the importance of fighting against slavery and being a part of the Underground Railroad.

(A map of Iowa depicting the established routes, presumed routes and “stations” on the Underground Railroad.)

And many of the white churches, the Congregational Church, sometimes the Presbyterian Church, the Methodist Church would be a part of the Underground Railroad supporting Black churches because the people that would be out to catch you would be watching the Black church and so people could move safely through white churches in the Underground Railroad.

(Text on screen - Iowa PBS Education)