Wednesday, March 22, 2017
It is interesting to see the various codes and secret signals that slaves created in order to communicate escape plans. Some strategies, like the quilt code, seem more elaborate but less likely of being discovered by whites and slaveowners. The quilt code would be a great way to relay directions, except it is harder to make a quilt than say sing a song, and the slaves have to be able to decode the quilt. Song seems to me the easiest way to communicate plans, but some of the songs seem like they'd be easily figured out by whites. Some of the lyrics are somewhat obvious and could have made whites suspicious of slaves running away. For example, "Follow the Drinking Gourd" clearly implies directions. It is still amazing to see how effective these songs were in helping many slaves run away to freedom. I wonder how many whites did not pick up on these songs, maybe they were not paying attention or were not around when they were sung. The slaves seemed to be very strategical in how they formed escaped plans and how they communicated directions to other slaves.