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Related to underground railroad: Harriet Tubman
1. capitalized An organized network of secret workers, routes, and safe houses used to ferry escaped African-American slaves to free states or present-day Canada. A former slave herself, Harriet Tubman was an instrumental figure in the Underground Railroad, saving roughly 70 people from slavery over the course of 13 rescue missions.
2. By extension, any network of people working together secretly to help fugitives escape to places of safety and freedom. The human rights organization has begun operating an underground railroad in the third-world country to help human trafficking victims escape from bondage. A former slave herself, Harriet Tubman was an instrumental figure in the Underground Railroad
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
A secret network for moving and housing fugitives, as in There's definitely an underground railroad helping women escape abusive husbands. This term, dating from the first half of the 1800s, alludes to the network that secretly transported runaway slaves through the northern states to Canada. It was revived more than a century later for similar escape routes.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.