Upwards of 27 million people are currently enslaved around the world, more than at any other time in human history.

 

We believe that through education and inspiration, we can encourage everyone to take part in the ongoing struggles for freedom.

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center celebrates the heroes who created the secret network through which the enslaved could escape to freedom, the Underground Railroad.

From this historical vantage point of courage, cooperation and perseverance, we relate this uniquely American story to the contemporary efforts of Modern Abolition, inspiring everyone to take steps for freedom today.

Despite the triumphant prose of our American history books, slavery didn’t fully end 150 years ago. Today and throughout time, people around the world have struggled for their freedom.

Yet, as forms of slavery evolve, so do the imaginations of those fighting for freedom. Abolition continues beyond 1865 as well. Courageous freedom fighters march alongside the enslaved, working to rescue and end exploitation. Their innovation and cooperation yield the victories—big and small—we celebrate today, as we work to make freedom a reality.

 
 
 

Heroes

THEN & NOW

$28 billion, the estimate of the annual revenues of human trafficking.

The abolitionist’s impulse to free the enslaved illustrates humanity’s inherent goodness. That impulse rings throughout history, showing the abolitionists of today that they’re not alone – that they’re amongst a heroic group of ordinary people taking everyday actions to end slavery. Most importantly, it shows that they can succeed just like their ancestors did before them.

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center reveals stories about freedom’s heroes: the men, women and children who challenge inequities to pursue greater freedom for their brothers and sisters.

Voices like Martin Luther King, Jr., William Wilberforce and Solomon Northup remind us that freedom is worth fighting for.

 

Journey to
Freedom

The true stories of two men, 21st Century Cambodian Vannak Prum and 19th Century American Solomon Northup, who were sold into slavery more than 150 years apart. Watch

History-Inspired Abolition

Explore the history of the American Underground Railroad and you’ll notice brave—but ordinary—men and women, who battled for freedom from slavery in the 18th and 19th centuries.

It has always been ordinary people, like you, who make extraordinary strides toward freedom. Perhaps, you’ll be challenged and inspired to take your own courageous steps for freedom today.

On average it costs $90 to buy a person today. In 1850, the cost of a slave (in today's dollars) was $35,000.