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Free Black Communities and the Underground RailroadThe Geography of Resistance$
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Cheryl Janifer LaRoche

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780252038044

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252038044.001.0001

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Poke Patch, Ohio

Poke Patch, Ohio

A Different Route

(p.71) Chapter 4 Poke Patch, Ohio
Free Black Communities and the Underground Railroad

Cheryl Janifer LaRoche

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines the relationship between the Underground Railroad and Poke Patch's free Black community, arguing that routes connecting iron furnace regions surrounding the community reveal an overlooked escape strategy for those fleeing slavery. After providing an overview of Ohio's multiple highly developed routes along the Underground Railroad, the chapter discusses the role of Poke Patch as an Underground Railroad site in the state. It then considers the Black Baptist Church's involvement in the Underground Railroad, along with the AME Church's role in helping escapees fleeing slavery. It also describes several escape routes leading into and out of Poke Patch, including one that converged at Berlin Crossroads, and those running toward Ohio's iron furnaces in Lawrence and Gallia Counties. The chapter explains how routes connecting these iron furnaces served as major pathways to freedom, with free Blacks silently operating in the background.

Keywords:   escape routes, Underground Railroad, Poke Patch, Ohio, Black Baptist Church, AME Church, Berlin Crossroads, iron furnaces, freedom, free Blacks

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