Trying to understand the truth/ realities of the Underground Railroad must go much deeper than public school textbooks, simplistic "fairy tale" curriculum, Hollywood movies, fictional novels, etc. To truly understand the realities of The UGRR, we must dive deeply into the primary sources!
Myth #1: Large numbers of white people participated in the UGRR.
Reality: Less than 1% (any color) of the population was involved in the UGRR.
Myth #2: There were hundreds of conductors and stations (and easily found) on the UGRR.
Reality: There were very few conductors and stations (not so easily found) on the UGRR.
Myth #3: Large numbers of slaves attempted to escape.
Reality: Less than 5% of slaves attempted to escape.
Myth #4: Large numbers of slaves succeeded.
Reality: Less than 1% of fugitive slaves succeeded.
Myth #5: Slaves (male and female) ran in large groups.
Reality: Most slaves (mostly young men) ran alone.
Myth #6: Slaves ran North (following The North Star) to escape.
Reality: Slaves ran in all directions (Florida...Mexico...The West...The Caribbean...).
Reality: Many slaves didn't run...study the history of The Maroons.
If only it was as easy as the history "lessons", glamorized Hollywood depictions, a candle in the window, friend of a friend, or "wading in the water"...millions would have escaped and the evil institution of slavery would have ended "happily ever after!"
But as the radical abolitionist, John Brown predicted...it would take war.