Block #12: Garden Maze
Sponsored by: The Caroline County Council of Arts
Located at The Foundry
401 N. Market Street, Denton, MD 21629
Painted by FACES Volunteers
May 18, 2013
The maze represents the struggle to find oneself, both physically and mentally. Life on the run was a constant struggle for both freedom seekers and conductors. Knowing who to trust and where to find safe stopping places along the way was crucial to survival and success of escaping slaves. Anyone who assisted runways could be subject to harsh penalties under laws such as the Fugitive Slave Acts that were enacted to protect slave owners first. Of course, abolitionists, as people who fought against slavery were called, also faced physical danger from slave owners and slave hunters, who earned a bounty for returning escaped slaves. Despite these dangers, many people openly defied the law, and in Syracuse and Pittsburgh, for example, citizens banded together to rescue and free slaves who were passing through.
For those traveling without an experienced guide, the journey was even more perilous. Getting lost was common because many masters forbade their slaves to learn the local terrain and prevented them from learning about opportunities in northern cities and Canada. Several accounts of freedom seekers tell of people becoming confused and wandering in circles before finding themselves in dire situations.