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Nation's first underground railroad ran not to free states, but south to Spanish Florida
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) ' Most people are familiar with the Underground Railroad that enabled escaped slaves find freedom in the North before the Civil War.
But another underground railroad ran for a century and was headed in the other direction ' south to what was then freedom for slaves in Spanish Florida.
Escaped slaves from South Carolina headed south from almost the time the South Carolina colony was founded in 1670 until after the American Revolution. The end of the escape route came in 1790 when Spain stopped its policy of granting freedom to slaves who came to Florida and converted to Catholicism.
The southern leg of the Underground Railroad is the topic of a national conference being held in St. Augustine this June.