Charles Sherman is a person who we have come across as a potential Underground Railroad “conductor”. He is extremely relevant to our class because he lived in Suffield in the 1800s. He was born in 1783 in New Haven, Connecticut and died in 1844 in Suffield, Connecticut. On May 20, 1814 Charles Sherman married Janet Sherman. He had three sons with Janet, until dying at the age of 61. Charles Sherman is a likely candidate as a person who aided slaves achieve freedom because in the 1840 US census, Sherman had 2 free black men working for him and living on his land. As we know, as students of the Underground Railroad in Suffield, there is no evidence of any conductors being stationed in Suffield. All of the maps of slave routes to freedom go directly around Suffield and directly through it, however there are no stations directly in Suffield. This is odd because we are so directly in the midst of a major hot zone for the Underground Railroad. This is why Charles Sherman could potentially be the man who puts Suffield on the anti-slavery map.
It is extremely important that we are able to give the due credit t Charles Sherman for many reasons. An important factor is that wherever Charles Sherman did live would become a historic landmark and the owners of the land could benefit from this as well as everyone in the community. Historically it is important to unmask this truth because Charles Sherman deserves the respect that every anti-slavery conductor for the Underground Railroad has. The only thing that is preventing him from being a known historically relevant person is that Underground Railroad workers were extremely secretive about their business. If they were caught they would have been arrested for assisting fugitive slaves. This means that Charles Sherman tried his best to hide all traces of his involvement. This makes our job harder but it also makes one recognize how honorable these Underground Railroad conductors were, they did not help African American slaves for the glory once slavery was abolished, they did it out of the kindness of their hearts. Charles Sherman put himself at risk every time he aided a fugitive slave and therefore he deserves to be remembered for it.
Another interesting fact about Charles Sherman is that he is related to Roger Sherman. Roger Sherman was the man who came up with the 3/5 compromise that regarded African Americans as 3/5s of a person. This seems to be negative towards slavery at first but when you consider that a majority of people thought that black people should not be counted as people at all, getting anything over one half is a serious achievement. Roger Sherman was also the only man to sign: the United States Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Association, the Articles of Confederation, and the United States Constitution. Only one other person managed to sign three of the four. The Sherman family has a deep association with fighting for African Americans, and labeling Charles Sherman as an active member of the Underground Railroad is the least we could do to thank them.
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