FIND OUT IF UNDERGROUND RAILROAD SEASON 1 ON AMAZON PRIME VIDEO IS INSPIRED BY A TRUE STORY!
Underground Railroad is available on Amazon Prime Video! If you’d like to know if it’s based on a true story, read on! Set in pre-Civil War America, Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book envisions the Underground Railroad not as a network of abolitionists and safe-havens, but as a real train, with underground stations where underground militants work who meander north towards freedom.
Darkness permeates this alternate reality, in which Cora and Caesar, a young man enslaved on the same Georgia plantation as her, use the railroad to find freedom. In every state where the train stops, Whitehead places before his characters a new insidious manifestation of racism. Before continuing, if you want to know if a second season will see the light of day, it’s here. If you’re wondering if Underground Railroad is based on a true story, here’s what you need to know.
IS UNDERGROUND RAILROAD BASED ON TRUE STORY?
No, the movie Underground Railroad is not based on true events. This is the web adaptation of Colson Whitehead’s eponymous novel, published in 2016 and critically acclaimed. But the series, like the book, is existentially steeped in history. She portrays the Underground Railroad as a literal rail system that Cora and others use to escape to the Free States of the United States. It was a network of hidden roads and hideouts that had nothing to do with an underground rail system.
But the railroad analogy is not Whitehead’s invention. It has been around at least since the 1830s. What the term refers to began to happen long before that. During and after the American Revolutionary War, several northern states, including Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New York, began to abolish slavery. They quickly became the preferred destinations for escaped slaves from the South. Many traveled further north to Canada, where slavery had virtually disappeared since the turn of the 19th century.
In 1850, the Fugitive Slave Act became even stricter, requiring citizens and northern state governments to actively assist fleeing slave owners. This law is widely regarded as one of the most unpopular in US history and often cited as one of the main reasons for the US Civil War.
According to abolitionist, preacher, and educator John Rankin, the term “Underground Railroad” arose “because those who used it disappeared from public view as if they had dug into the earth. The phrase has become so widespread that even today people mistakenly believe that there was a veritable underground rail network for the transport of escaped slaves.
Following the narration from the original book, Underground Railroad on Amazon Prime introduces some fictitious elements into the description of the five states Cora is in – Georgia, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, and Indiana. It is clear that Underground Railroad is not inspired by actual events, but uses an alternate version of the 19th century to create its setting.