"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead. A Story of Cora's Journey

Linda Berger

Wednesdays, April 11 - May 9 10:00 a.m. - noon 5 sessions
King's Chapel Parish House, 64 Beacon Street

Published in the summer of 2016, The Underground Railroad is a novel about the antebellum South and a young runaway slave’s travels toward freedom. It has been translated into 40 languages, and won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Literature. As the book jacket states, “It is at once the story of one woman’s ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shatteringly powerful meditation on history.” 

This course will go on Cora’s journey with her. In the novel, she is portrayed as a 15-year-old slave who escapes from a cotton plantation in Georgia and travels with the Underground Railroad, first to South Carolina, then North Carolina, Tennessee, and finally Indiana. All the while, she is being chased by the notorious slave catcher Ridgeway. The book uniquely shows what life was like for the black inhabitants, runaways or free, in each of these states – all different, but equally cruel. 

We will read and discuss the book together, each week focusing on a different section and a different state on Cora’s journey to freedom. We will meet the conductors on the railroad, the heroic station agents, and the conflicted abolitionists.

Please get a copy of the book to read and bring to each class. The book comes out in paperback in January 2018. 

Teaching style: Lecture with discussion     Weekly preparation: 1-2 hours


    Linda Berger

    Linda Berger is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. She has a B.S. and an M.S. in education and has done doctoral work in educational psychology. This is her 15th course  in women’s history for Beacon Hill Seminars.