Still, William, 1821–1902, American abolitionist, b. Burlington co., N.J. After he moved to Philadelphia (1844), he began working for the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society (1847) and became head of its vigilance committee, which aided escaped slaves. Often called the
father of the Underground Railroad,he organized a network of abolitionists and safe houses to coordinate the passage to free states and Canada of hundreds of escaped slaves who came through Philadelphia. He kept records of each person's family and destination, with the aim of eventually reconnecting those who had become separated under slavery. His accounts were published as The Underground Railroad (1872). Still, who was a leader of the city's black community and a successful businessman, selling stoves and running a coal company, also lobbied successfully for the desegregation of the local public transit system (1867).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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