Working alongside prominent abolitionist Charles Turner Torrey, the two men encouraged those enslaved to flee north and helped create what is believed to be the first organized line of the Underground Railroad.
The route to freedom ran through Washington, DC, and was operated by them from 1842 to 1844. Despite the efforts of their arch enemy, Baltimore slave trader Hope H. Slatter, the effort continued until the end of slavery 20 years later.
Smallwood also wrote for the Tocsin of Liberty, Torrey’s Albany, New York antislavery newspaper, as a Washington correspondent.
On this episode of the Historians Podcast, Scott Shane, author of Flee North: A Forgotten Hero and the Fight for Freedom in Slavery’s Borderland (Celadon Books, 2023) talks about the life of Smallwood and his work. You can listen to the podcast here.
The Historians Podcast is produced by Bob Cudmore and Dave Greene. You can find past Historians Podcasts at bobcudmore.com.