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slave ship background image with title overlay: Middle Passages: Gendered Diasporas
Escape Routes: Connecting Historical Slavery and Present-Day Domestic Violence
How to Read the Map Escape Routes

The Google Map presented here is color-coded to provide easy recognition of the escape routes used by selected individuals from the antebellum period in America.

Blue = Harriet Jacobs
Red = Harriet Tubman
Pink = Mary Prince
Purple = Sethe (the fictional character in Toni Morrison's Beloved, who represents the historical figure, Margaret Garner)

By looking at the routes of these women, this map examines the methods of resistance in the context of the avenues available “then.”

The link below the map will take you to a larger view with the highlighted escapes routes of these brave women.

Project Summary:

Our project is reflective of the varied routes women have taken to escape sexual and domestic violence during the era of the slave institution and in contemporary times. During the slave era in the Americas, women of African descent were subjected to acts of sexual, physical, and mental abuse. Although propaganda published during the slave era presented slaves as docile and weak, the strength of slaves can be recognized when highlighting their resistance methods. Methods of resistance included stealing, working slower than usual to decrease productivity, and running away. Running away was the strongest method of resistance, as slave masters lost present and future revenue every time a slave ran away.

Part 1 of our project highlights, through the use of Google maps, the escape routes several enslaved women took when they decided to escape from their oppressors.

Part 2 is a game created to take you into the life of a woman who has experienced sexual and domestic violence at the hands of her partner and will attempt her own escape route.

The Game


Elizabeth Catlett, "Harriet," Linoleum cut, 1975.
Collection of the Museum of Modern Art.

References Resources

Blassingame, John W. The Slave Community: Plantation Life in the Antebellum South.  Oxford: University Press New York, 1972.

Clinton, Catherine. Harriet Tubman The Road to Freedom. New York: Back Bay Books, 2005.

Cooper, Afua. The Hanging of Angelique The Untold Story of Canadian Slavery and the Burning of Old Montreal (Race in the Atlantic World, 1700-1900) (Race in the Atlantic World, 1700-1900). New York: University of Georgia P, 2007.

Gates, Henry Louis, Jr. The Classic Slave Narratives (Signet Classics). New York: Signet Classics, 2002.

_______________. The Trials of Phillis Wheatley America's First Black Poet and Encounters with the Founding Fathers. New York: Basic Civitas Books, 2003.

Keckley, Elizabeth. Behind the Scenes, or, Thirty Years a Slave and Four Years in the White House. Penguin Group: New York, 2005.

Morrison, Toni. Beloved. New York: Vintage International, 2004.

Prince, Mary. Classic Slave Narratives: The History of Mary Prince.  The African Penguin Group: New York, 1987.

Belmont, Joelle. Domestic Violence and Abuse Warning Signs and Symptoms of Abusive Relationships.

Intimate Homicide Victims by Gender (Bureau of Justice Statistics)

Intimate Partner Violence (Bureau of Justice Special Report, May 2000)

The National Center for Public Policy Research's Archive of Historical Documents.

wheel of violence

Project Authors: Amelia David and Jema Clements