Underground to Canada

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Underground to Canada is a historical novel for young readers by Barbara Smucker first published in 1977. Based partially on a true story, the novel is set in the United States and Canada in the years leading up to the American Civil War and depicts the hard lives of slaves in the American South and the people who helped them escape to Canada via the Underground Railroad. The novel is studied in many Canadian schools.[1][2][3]


A young, strong slave girl and her mother are sold apart when their master (Massa Hensen) falls ill. As Julilly is sold from the plantation, she keeps thinking about a place called Canada that her mother told her about. She had said that if Jullilly got there she would be free, as slavery was not allowed there. The slaves left the Hensen plantation in Virginia to be taken to the Riley plantation Mississippi in the Deep South where Julilly met Liza, another slave girl. They escape together with two friends, Lester and Adam. Pursued by their master, they make their way through the United States to Canada on the Underground Railroad with the help of Alexander Milton Ross, a Canadian abolitionist. They eventually arrive safely, except for Adam, who dies of blood poisoning caused by his slave chains which were attached to the cart of slaves.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Toledo Blade, "Author's Twelve Books Educated Children", 1 August 2003, p. B4
  2. ^ Nardaya Dipchand and Bruce Hill, Study Guide: Underground to Canada, Saskatchewan Schools[dead link]
  3. ^ Brian Thornton, Study Guide: Underground to Canada

External links[edit]