I often get questions about the origin of Underground Railroad concerning both the name and the events.
It was inspired by a true event. Mrs. Urban, my mother, had received a call from her best friend, Becky, asking her to take in a woman she’d never met. The woman was an acquaintance of Becky’s and was frightened for her children’s lives after her husband had threatened to kill them. Mrs. Urban readily agreed.
The woman waited until her husband was at work before driving to her kids’ high school and picking them up. From there she traveled from North Carolina to South Carolina. She stayed two weeks with the Urban’s while her family was contacted and arrangements made for their escape. Since the woman did not know Mrs. Urban directly her husband could not track them. After her family was contacted she took her children to Atlanta’s Underground Railroad where she met her family and from there disappeared.
The title of the book comes partially from where the woman met her family and partially from The Women’s Underground Railroad that operates throughout North America rescuing women from abusive relationships. They rescue women who have little or no hope of extracting themselves from volatile circumstances. They then relocate those women and assist in rebuilding their lives.