New Book Sheds Light on Delmarva's Role in the Underground Railroad

Author Jim Duffy hopes to provide readers with an “up-close-and-personal”¬†understanding of several 19th-century slaves’ journeys.


The inspiring stories of slaves setting out in search of freedom in the 19th century come to new life for modern-day readers in “Tubman Travels: 32 Underground Railroad Journeys on Delmarva,” a new book by award-winning author Jim Duffy.

“The events that unfolded on the Eastern Shore and in Delaware during slavery times are as moving and important as any in our nation’s history,” Duffy says. “My goal in ‘Tubman Travels’ is to tell these stories in fresh, engaging ways so that readers can get an up-close-and-personal feel for the times and the people who embarked on these remarkable journeys.”

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Each of the book’s 32 chapters is centered on a specific Underground Railroad story and set at a destination linked to the events at hand. About half of the chapters are devoted to keystone events in the lives of the Delmarva region’s two most famous escaped slaves, Dorchester County native Harriet Tubman and Talbot County native Frederick Douglass. Other chapters are devoted to an array of less widely known Underground Railroad heroes, including Isaac Mason, Rev. Samuel Green, Moses Viney, Harriet Shephard, Lear Green, and Sam and Emeline Hawkins, among others.

“The journeys these brave souls set out on are constantly brushing up against timeless themes that remain as vital today as they were back then—things like courage, love, family and faith,” Duffy says.

‘Tubman Travels’ is organized geographically, with the first chapter set on the Choptank River in Cambridge. The stories that follow lead readers along rural back roads and through historic Eastern Shore towns such as Easton, St. Michaels, Denton, Chestertown, Centreville, Galena and Chesapeake City. Crossing into Delaware, the journeys continue through Seaford, Dover, Middletown, New Castle and Wilmington.

“I hope that ‘Tubman Travels’ inspires some people to get out and wander through the Delmarva Peninsula, getting to know its towns and its history and its people,” Duffy says. “But I also worked very hard to present things in ways that will appeal to armchair travelers, too.” 

For more information, visit or call 443-477-4490.

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