Freedom was the objective for thousands of bondswomen who “bought a ticket” on the Underground Railroad, and for many, the journey culminated in the City of Brotherly Love. An abolitionist center, Philadelphia was a vital terminus on the clandestine network, with nearly 9,000 escapees arriving before 1860, including numerous black women. How did gender inform their flight to and experiences in the city? What were their experiences once they arrived and settled? What contributions did they make to Philadelphia's Underground enterprise? This article examines fugitive women who seized liberty in Philadelphia and the local women who aided freedom seekers in the era before the Civil War. It uncovers how gender influenced African American women's experiences and perspectives as dynamic participants in resisting and fleeing enslavement, in one of the most important cities in the fight for abolition.

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