Melbourne International Film Festival
The Melbourne International Film Festival is an annual film festival held over three weeks in Melbourne, Australia. It is one of the oldest film festivals in the world. MIFF is one of Melbourne's four major film festivals, in addition to the Melbourne International Animation Festival, Melbourne Queer Film Festival and Melbourne Underground Film Festival; as of 2017, the festival's Artistic Director is Michelle Carey. Melbourne is a significant city in the history of film: The Story of the Kelly Gang, the world's first full-length feature film, was filmed in the city. Established in 1952, the Melbourne International Film Festival is one of the oldest film festivals in the world and has become the most notable screen event in Australia. An iconic Melbourne event, the festival takes place annually in various theatres in the Melbourne CBD, presenting an acclaimed screening program including films from local and international filmmakers, alongside industry events. MIFF is the largest film festival in both Australia and the southern hemisphere, is Australia's largest showcase of new Australian cinema.
The 2012 festival generated A$8 million for the Victorian economy. As of 2013, the festival is accredited by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Australian Film Institute and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts; as of 2013, the festival's CEO is Maria Amato, Carey is the Artistic Director and Mark Woods is MIFF's Industry Director/Executive Producer. In 2013, the festival program consisted of the following categories: International Panorama - a handpicked selection of world cinema TeleScope – curated program of 12 new films from 12 European Union countries Australian Showcase – new Australian cinema NextGen - a program of films aimed at younger audiences Accent on Asia - showcase of films from Asia-Pacific region Inside the DPRK - two film exploring life within North Korea Juche Showtime: Films of the DPRK - North Korean cinema Defying the Times: Activism on Film – films on political activism Documentaries A League of Their Own: New Arabic Cinema – films from the pan-Arabic world States of Play: American Independents – independent cinema from the United States Masters and Restorations – documentaries on filmmaking and film restorations Backbeat – music films Animation Shining Violence: Italian Giallo – films of the Italian'giallo' subgenre Night Shift – thriller and gore movies This Sporting Life – sporting films Short Film Packages – short film category that features the Accelerator programs, Best MIFF Shorts Screening and the MIFF Shorts Awards Ceremony Pre-Feature Shorts – short films featured prior to feature film screenings Special Events – includes the opening night feature film and a screening at the Melbourne Planetarium Talking Pictures – discussion and Q&A events with the festival's filmmakers and personalities MIFF Premiere Fund – Australian films supported by the MIFF Premiere Fund 37ºSouth - see: #37ºSouth Market The festival is conducted across various venues located in Melbourne and in 2013 the following venues were used: Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Forum Theatre, Greater Union Cinemas, Mandala Festival Wine Bar, Hoyts Melbourne Central, the Arts Centre Melbourne, Kino Cinemas, Wheeler Centre, Village Roadshow Theatrette, Speakeasy Cinema.
The 37ºSouth Market is the only international film financing marketplace to take place during a film festival in Australia or New Zealand. The event occurs during the opening days of the festival and is a forum for around 45 invited sales agents/distributors to meet with up to 100 pre-selected Australian and NZ producers who are seeking co-financing support; as of 2013, the 37ºSouth Market is the exclusive partner of the London's Production Finance Market for Australia and NZ. As of 2013, the 37ºSouth Market has attracted companies such as: Studio Canal, Wild Bunch, Paramount Pictures, BBC Films, HanWay, Miramax Films, Bankside, The Works, eOne, West End, Level K. Since 1962, MIFF has staged a short film competition, as well as numerous feature film award categories, it presents audience popularity awards for feature film and documentary. The festival's inaugural award was'Best Short Film', but the title was changed to'Grand Prix for Best Short Film' in 1965. From 1985 onwards, the Grand Prix has been presented by the City of Melbourne.
People's Choice Award for Best Feature People's Choice Award for Best Documentary TeleScope Best European Feature Award The Age Critics' Award City of Melbourne Grand Prix for Best Short Film Film Victoria Erwin Rado Award for Best Australian Short Film Swinburne Award for Emerging Australian Filmmaker Cinema Nova Award for Best Fiction Short Film Holmesglen Award for Best Animation Short Film BBC Knowledge Award for Best Documentary Short Film The Astor Theatre Award for Best Experimental Short Film Jury Special MentionAs of 2013, the MIFF short film awards are accredited by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts, winners in the Best Short, Best Fiction, Best Animation and Best Documentary categories are eligible to submit their films for Academy Award consideration. The judges for the 2013 MIFF short film awards were Lorin Clarke, Michael Matrenza and Ramona Telecican. During the 58th festival in 2009, the controversial film The 10 Conditions of Love, which documents the life of the exiled Uyghur leader Rebiya Kadeer, was screened despite many attempts by the Go
Albany, New York
Albany is the capital of the U. S. state of New York and the seat of Albany County. Albany is located on the west bank of the Hudson River 10 miles south of its confluence with the Mohawk River and 135 miles north of New York City. Albany is known for its rich history, culture and institutions of higher education. Albany constitutes the economic and cultural core of the Capital District of New York State, which comprises the Albany–Schenectady–Troy, NY Metropolitan Statistical Area, including the nearby cities and suburbs of Troy and Saratoga Springs. With a 2013 Census-estimated population of 1.1 million the Capital District is the third-most populous metropolitan region in the state. As of the 2010 census, the population of Albany was 97,856; the area that became Albany was settled by Dutch colonists who in 1614, built Fort Nassau for fur trading and, in 1624, built Fort Orange. In 1664, the English took over the Dutch settlements, renaming the city as Albany, in honor of the Duke of Albany, the future James II of England and James VII of Scotland.
The city was chartered in 1686 under English rule. It became the capital of New York in 1797 following formation of the United States. Albany is one of the oldest surviving settlements of the original British thirteen colonies, is the longest continuously chartered city in the United States. During the late 18th century and throughout most of the 19th, Albany was a center of trade and transportation; the city lies toward the north end of the navigable Hudson River, was the original eastern terminus of the Erie Canal connecting to the Great Lakes, was home to some of the earliest railroad systems in the world. In the 1920s, a powerful political machine controlled by the Democratic Party arose in Albany. In the latter part of the 20th century, Albany experienced a decline in its population due to urban sprawl and suburbanization. In the early 21st century, Albany has experienced growth in the high-technology industry, with great strides in the nanotechnology sector. Albany is one of the oldest surviving European settlements from the original thirteen colonies and the longest continuously chartered city in the United States.
The Hudson River area was inhabited by Algonquian-speaking Mohican, who called it Pempotowwuthut-Muhhcanneuw, meaning "the fireplace of the Mohican nation." Based to the west along the Mohawk River, the Iroquoian-speaking Mohawk referred to it as Sche-negh-ta-da, or "through the pine woods," referring to the path they took there. The Mohawk were one of the Five Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy, or Haudenosaunee, became strong trading partners with the Dutch and English, it is the Albany area was visited by European fur traders as early as 1540, but the extent and duration of those visits has not been determined. Permanent European claims began when Englishman Henry Hudson, exploring for the Dutch East India Company on the Half Moon, reached the area in 1609, claiming it for the United Netherlands. In 1614, Hendrick Christiaensen built Fort Nassau, a fur-trading post and the first documented European structure in present-day Albany. Commencement of the fur trade provoked hostility from the French colony in Canada and among the natives, all of whom vied to control the trade.
In 1618, a flood ruined the fort on Castle Island. Both forts were named in honor of the Dutch royal House of Orange-Nassau. Fort Orange and the surrounding area were incorporated as the village of Beverwijck in 1652. In these early decades of trade, the Dutch and Mohawk developed relations that reflected differences among their three cultures; when New Netherland was captured by the English in 1664, the name was changed from Beverwijck to Albany in honor of the Duke of Albany. Duke of Albany was a Scottish title given since 1398 to a younger son of the King of Scots; the name is derived from Alba, the Gaelic name for Scotland. The Dutch regained Albany in August 1673 and renamed the city Willemstadt. On November 1, 1683, the Province of New York was split into counties, with Albany County being the largest. At that time the county included all of present New York State north of Dutchess and Ulster Counties in addition to present-day Bennington County, theoretically stretching west to the Pacific Ocean.
Albany was formally chartered as a municipality by provincial Governor Thomas Dongan on July 22, 1686. The Dongan Charter was identical in content to the charter awarded to the city of New York three months earlier. Dongan created Albany as a strip of land 16 miles long. Over the years Albany would lose much of the land to the annex land to the north and south. At this point, Albany had a population of about 500 people. In 1754, representatives of seven British North American colonies met in the Stadt Huys, Albany's city hall, for the Albany Congress. Although it was never adopted by Parliament, it was an important precursor to the United States Constitution; the same year, the fourth in a series of wars dating back to 1689, began.
Queens is the easternmost of the five boroughs of New York City. It is the largest borough geographically and is adjacent to the borough of Brooklyn at the southwestern end of Long Island. To its east is Nassau County. Queens shares water borders with the boroughs of Manhattan and the Bronx. Coterminous with Queens County since 1899, the borough of Queens is the second largest in population, with an estimated 2,358,582 residents in 2017 48% of them foreign-born. Queens County is the second most populous county in the U. S. state of New York, behind Brooklyn, coterminous with Kings County. Queens is the fourth most densely populated county among New York City's boroughs, as well as in the United States. If each of New York City's boroughs were an independent city, Queens would be the nation's fourth most populous, after Los Angeles and Brooklyn. Queens is the most ethnically diverse urban area in the world. Queens was established in 1683 as one of the original 12 counties of New York; the settlement was named for the English queen Catherine of Braganza.
Queens became a borough during the consolidation of New York City in 1898, from 1683 until 1899, the County of Queens included what is now Nassau County. Queens has the most diversified economy of the five boroughs of New York City, it is home to John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport, both among the world's busiest, which in turn makes the airspace above Queens among the busiest in the United States. Landmarks in Queens include Flushing Meadows–Corona Park; the borough has diverse housing, ranging from high-rise apartment buildings in the urban areas of western and central Queens, such as Jackson Heights, Flushing and Long Island City, to somewhat more suburban neighborhoods in the eastern part of the borough, including Douglaston–Little Neck and Bayside. European colonization brought English settlers, as a part of the New Netherland colony. First settlements occurred in 1635 followed by early colonizations at Maspeth in 1642, Vlissingen in 1643. Other early settlements included Jamaica.
However, these towns were inhabited by English settlers from New England via eastern Long Island subject to Dutch law. After the capture of the colony by the English and its renaming as New York in 1664, the area became known as Yorkshire; the Flushing Remonstrance signed by colonists in 1657 is considered a precursor to the United States Constitution's provision on freedom of religion in the Bill of Rights. The signers protested the Dutch colonial authorities' persecution of Quakers in what is today the borough of Queens. Queens County included the adjacent area now comprising Nassau County, it was an original county of New York State, one of twelve created on November 1, 1683. The county is assumed to have been named after Catherine of Braganza, since she was queen of England at the time; the county was founded alongside Kings County, Richmond County. However, the namesake is in dispute. On October 7, 1691, all counties in the Colony of New York were redefined. Queens gained South Brother Islands as well as Huletts Island.
On December 3, 1768, Queens gained other islands in Long Island Sound that were not assigned to a county but that did not abut on Westchester County. Queens played a minor role in the American Revolution, as compared to Brooklyn, where the Battle of Long Island was fought. Queens, like the rest of what became New York City and Long Island, remained under British occupation after the Battle of Long Island in 1776 and was occupied throughout most of the rest of the Revolutionary War. Under the Quartering Act, British soldiers used, as barracks, the public inns and uninhabited buildings belonging to Queens residents. Though many local people were against unannounced quartering, sentiment throughout the county remained in favor of the British crown; the quartering of soldiers in private homes, except in times of war, was banned by the Third Amendment to the United States Constitution. Nathan Hale was captured by the British on the shore of Flushing Bay in Queens before being executed by hanging in Manhattan for gathering intelligence.
From 1683 until 1784, Queens County consisted of five towns: Flushing, Jamaica and Oyster Bay. On April 6, 1784, a sixth town, the Town of North Hempstead, was formed through secession by the northern portions of the Town of Hempstead; the seat of the county government was located first in Jamaica, but the courthouse was torn down by the British during the American Revolution to use the materials to build barracks. After the war, various buildings in Jamaica temporarily served as courthouse and jail until a new building was erected about 1787 in an area near Mineola known as Clowesville; the 1850 United States Census was the first in which the population of the three western towns exceeded that of the three eastern towns that are now part of Nassau County. Concerns were raised about the condition and distance of the old courthouse, several sites were in contention for the constru
Louis Émile Clément Georges Bernanos was a French author, a soldier in World War I. A Roman Catholic with monarchist leanings, he was critical of bourgeois thought and was opposed to what he identified as defeatism, he believed this had led to France's defeat and eventual occupation by Germany in 1940 during World War II. Most of his novels have been translated into English and published in both Great Britain and the United States. Bernanos was born into a family of craftsmen, he spent much of his childhood in the village of Fressin, Pas de Calais region, which became a frequent setting for his novels. He served in the First World War as a soldier, where he fought in the battles of the Somme and Verdun, he was wounded several times. After the war, he worked in insurance before writing Sous le soleil de Satan. Despite his Royalist leanings and his membership in Action Française's youth organization), until 1932, Bernanos despised Fascism, which he described as "disgustingly monstrous" well before World War II broke out in Europe.
He won the Grand Prix du roman de l'Académie française for The Diary of a Country Priest, published in 1936. He supported Francisco Franco and the Falange at the outset of the Spanish Civil War. However, after he observed the conflict in Majorca and saw'a terrorized people,' he became disgusted with the nacionales and criticized them in the book Diary of My Times, he wrote, "My illusions regarding the enterprise of General Franco did not last long - two or three weeks - but while they lasted I conscientiously endeavoured to overcome the disgust which some of his men and means caused me." Most of his important fictional works were written between 1926 and 1937. With political tensions rising in Europe, Bernanos emigrated to South America with his family in 1938, settling in Brazil, he remained until 1945 in Barbacena, State of Minas Gerais, where he tried his hand at managing a farm. His three sons returned to France to fight after World War II broke out, while he fulminated at his country's'spiritual exhaustion,' which he saw as the root of its collapse in 1940.
From exile he mocked the'ridiculous' Vichy regime and became a strong supporter of the nationalist Free French Forces led by the conservative Charles De Gaulle. After France's Liberation, De Gaulle invited Bernanos to return to his homeland, offering him a post in the government. Bernanos did return but, disappointed to perceive no signs of spiritual renewal, he declined to play an active role in French political life; the Diary of a Country Priest: this was the first novel by Bernanos to be adapted as a film, called Diary of a Country Priest. Mouchette was adapted into a film of the same name by Robert Bresson, released in 1967. Under the Sun of Satan: his novel was adapted as a film of the same name, produced in 1987 in France; the film won the Palme d'Or prize at the 1987 Cannes Film Festival. Dialogues des Carmélites: in 1947, Bernanos had been hired to write the dialogue for a film screenplay, through Raymond-Léopold Bruckberger and the scenario writer Philippe Agostini, based on the novella Die Letzte am Schafott by German novelist Gertrud von Le Fort, about the 1794 execution of the Carmelite Nuns of Compiègne.
The screenplay was judged unsatisfactory at the time. Following Bernanos' death his literary executor, Albert Béguin, discovered the manuscript. To assist Bernanos' heirs, Béguin sought to have the work published, requesting permission from Baroness von Le Fort for publication. In January 1949 she agreed, gifting her portion of the royalties over to Bernanos' widow and children. However, the Baroness requested. Béguin chose Dialogues des Carmélites, the work was published in 1949, it was translated into German, published there in 1951 as Die begnadete Angst and first staged in Zurich and Munich that year. The French stage première took place in May 1952 at the Théâtre Hébertot; the composer Francis Poulenc adapted Bernanos' work into an opera of the same name,which was first performed at La Scala Milan in 1957. A film based on Bernanos' play and starring Jeanne Moreau was released in 1960; the Star of Satan. London: The Bodley Head, 1927. Under the Sun of Satan. New York: Pantheon, 1949; the Crime. London: Hale, 1936.
The Diary of a Country Priest. 1936 in Paris, France. A Diary of My Times. New York: Macmillan, 1938. Plea for Liberty. New York: Pantheon, 1944; the Open Mind. London: The Bodley Head, 1945. Monsieur Ouine. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2000. Sanctity Will Out. London and New York: Sheed & Ward, 1947. Joy. New York: Pantheon Books, 1946. Tradition of Freedom. London: Dobson, 1950; the Fearless Heart. Toronto: Thomas Nelson, 1952. Night Is Darkest. London: The Bodley Head, 1953. Mouchette. London: The Bodley Head, 1966; the Last Essays of Georges Bernanos. Chicago: Henry Regnery Co. 1955. The Impostor. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1999. Blumenthal, Gerda; the Poetic Imagination of Georges Bernanos: An Essay in Interpretation. The Johns Hopkins Press. Braybrooke, Neville. "Georg
Douglaston–Little Neck, Queens
Douglaston–Little Neck is an upper middle class community in the eastern part of the New York City borough of Queens. The community is located on the North Shore of Long Island, bordered to the east by Nassau County, to the west by Bayside. Douglaston and Little Neck's two ZIP Codes are 11362 and 11363; the area is part of Queens Community Board 11. The neighborhood is composed of two main sections: Douglaston west of Marathon Parkway, Little Neck east of Marathon Parkway. Douglaston–Little Neck represents one of the least traditionally urban communities in New York City, with many areas having a distinctly upscale suburban feel, similar to that of Nassau County towns located nearby; the area is known for its historical society and other civic groups, notably the Douglaston Civic Association and the Douglas Manor Association. There are two historic districts, Douglas Manor and Douglaston Hill, two houses, Allen-Beville House and Cornelius Van Wyck House, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in the neighborhood.
Douglaston–Little Neck is bounded by Cross Island Parkway to the west, Grand Central Parkway to the south, the New York City-Nassau County border to the east, Little Neck Bay to the north. Douglaston is considered to be the area located west of Marathon Parkway and north of Grand Central Parkway. According to The New York Times, Douglaston comprises six distinct neighborhoods. Douglas Bay, Douglas Manor, Douglaston Hill are located north of Northern Boulevard, on the peninsula abutting Little Neck Bay. Douglas Manor takes up most of the peninsula located north of the Long Island Rail Road's Port Washington Branch, while Douglaston Hill takes up a small section between the LIRR and Northern Boulevard. Douglaston Park is the area located between Northern Boulevard and Interstate 495. Additionally, there are two areas south of I-495, Winchester Estates and an area called Douglaston. Winchester Estates is located west of Douglaston Golf Course and the remainder of the area south of I-495 is without a distinct name other than Douglaston.
Little Neck is north of Grand Central Parkway. Little Neck itself has three subsections: Pines and Little Neck Hills; the earliest known residents of the area that would become Douglaston–Little Neck were the Matinecock Native Americans. They were sustained by the seafood in Little Neck Bay. Early Dutch settlers were drawn to the area by abundant fishing. In the 17th century, European settlers began arriving in the area for its conveniently located harbor. Soon after, the British and Dutch gained control of the Matinecock lands peacefully, except for a small area known as Madnan's Neck. Thomas Hicks, of the Hicks family that founded Hicksville, a band of armed settlers forcibly drove out the Matinecock in a battle at today's Northern Boulevard and Marathon Parkway. In 1796, Hicks's estate passed to Thomas Wickes, in 1819, to Wyant Van Zandt, a wealthy merchant, who built a large Greek Revival mansion in the area. Today, this mansion houses the Douglaston Club, a private club with tennis courts, social activities and swimming pools.
In 1835, George Douglas bought 240 acres of land along with Van Zandt's mansion. Upon Douglas' death in 1862, the land was inherited by William Douglas. Douglaston Hill is the oldest area of the community, is characterized by turn-of-the-20th-century homes in Queen Anne and Victorian styles, it was laid out with large lots in 1853, at the beginning of a movement in the United States to create suburban gardens. The area was recognized as a New York City Historic District in December 2004 by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission; the Douglaston Hill Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2000. The settlers thrived producing produce for the Manhattan market and the area was used as a dock on Little Neck Bay; the Little Neck and Douglaston stations opened in 1866 on the North Shore Railroad to serve the community and the dock area. Northern Boulevard was developed into a commercial and cultural hub, the Little Neck Theater, a 576-seat movie theater, was opened in 1929 at the intersection of Northern Boulevard and Morgan Street.
The theater was closed in 1983. From the 1860s through the 1890s, small hard clams from Little Neck Bay were served in the best restaurants of New York and several European capitals; the term "littleneck" or "littleneck clam" came to be used as a size category for all hard clams, regardless of origin. In the early 20th century, the Rickert-Finlay Realty Company of Manhattan purchased 175 acres of the Douglas' family holdings, formed the Douglas Manor Association, creating a planned community. Many of the houses in this area were built in architectural styles popular at the time, such as Tudor, Colonial Revival, Arts and Crafts. In 1997, New York City's Landmarks Preservation Commission designated Douglas Manor as the Douglaston Historic District, ensuring that no new buildings or external alterations could be made without the commission's approval; the Douglaston Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005. An old Matinecock cemetery remained on Northern Boulevard between Jesse Court.
One of the last photographs of the cemetery was taken by the Daily News in August 1931, a few months b
Peter Bradshaw is an English writer and film critic. He has been chief film critic at The Guardian since 1999, is a contributing editor at Esquire. Bradshaw was educated at Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School in Hertfordshire, studied English at Pembroke College, where he was president of the Cambridge Footlights, he was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree 1984 followed by postgraduate research in the Early Modern period in which he studied with Lisa Jardine and Anne Barton. He received his PhD in 1989. Before joining The Guardian, Bradshaw was employed by the Evening Standard as a columnist, during the 1997 General Election, editor Max Hastings asked him to write a series of parodic diary entries purporting to be written by the Conservative MP and historian Alan Clark, which Clark thought deceptive and which were the subject of a court case resolved in January 1998, the first in newspaper history in which the subject of a satire sued its author. Bradshaw was not put into the witness box by his QC Peter Prescott, the judge Gavin Lightman found in Clark's favour, granting an injunction, deciding that Bradshaw's articles were being published in a form that "a substantial number of readers" would believe they were genuinely being written by Alan Clark.
Bradshaw found it "the most surreal business of my professional life. I'm flattered that Mr Clark should go to all this trouble and expense in suing me like this." Bradshaw has been chief film critic for The Guardian since 1999, writing a weekly review column every Friday for the paper's Film&Music section. In a 2012 Sight & Sound poll of cinema's greatest films, Bradshaw indicated his ten favourites, given alphabetically, are The Addiction, Andrei Rublev, Annie Hall, Black Narcissus, Hidden, I am Cuba, In the Mood for Love, Kind Hearts and Coronets, Raging Bull and Singin' in the Rain. Bradshaw is a regular guest reviewer on the Film... programme broadcast on BBC One. Bradshaw has written three novels, Lucky Baby Jesus, published in 1999, Dr Sweet and his Daughter, published in 2003 and Night Of Triumph, published in 2013, he wrote and performed a BBC radio programme titled For One Horrible Moment, recorded 10 October 1998 and first broadcast 20 January 1999. The programme chronicled, his bittersweet short story Reunion, first broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on 21 October 2016, was narrated by Tom Hollander and described as "sad and sly, connected impermeably to the mid-Seventies and what it felt like to be young".
Another short story by Bradshaw, entitled Neighbours Of Zero, first broadcast on Radio 4 on 17 November 2017, was narrated by Daniel Mays. He acted in David Baddiel's sitcom Baddiel's Syndrome, first aired on Sky One, he has been shortlisted four times at the British Press Awards in the Critic Of The Year category, in 2001, 2007, 2013 and 2014, gaining "Highly Commended" on this last occasion
The Underground Railroad was a network of secret routes and safe houses established in the United States during the early to mid-19th century, used by African-American slaves to escape into free states and Nova Scotia with the aid of abolitionists and allies who were sympathetic to their cause. The term is applied to the abolitionists, both black and white and enslaved, who aided the fugitives. Various other routes led to Mexico or overseas. An earlier escape route running south toward Florida a Spanish possession, existed from the late 17th century until Florida became a United States territory in 1821. However, the network now known as the Underground Railroad was formed in the late 1700s, it ran north to the free states and Canada, reached its height between 1850 and 1860. One estimate suggests that by 1850, 100,000 slaves had escaped via the "Railroad". British North America, where slavery was prohibited, was a popular destination, as its long border gave many points of access. Most former slaves settled in Ontario.
More than 30,000 people were said to have escaped there via the network during its 20-year peak period, although U. S. Census figures account for only 6,000. Numerous fugitives' stories are documented in the 1872 book The Underground Railroad Records by William Still, an abolitionist who headed the Philadelphia Vigilance Committee. At its peak, nearly 1,000 slaves per year escaped from slave-holding states using the Underground Railroad – more than 5,000 court cases for escaped slaves were recorded – many fewer than the natural increase of the enslaved population; the resulting economic impact was minuscule, but the psychological influence on slave holders was immense. Under the original Fugitive Slave Act of 1793, officials from free states were required to assist slaveholders or their agents who recaptured runaway slaves, but and governments of many free states ignored the law, the Underground Railroad thrived. With heavy lobbying by southern politicians, the Compromise of 1850 was passed by Congress after the Mexican–American War.
It stipulated a more stringent Fugitive Slave Law. Because the law required sparse documentation to claim a person was a fugitive, slave catchers kidnapped free blacks children, sold them into slavery. Southern politicians exaggerated the number of escaped slaves and blamed these escapes on Northerners interfering with Southern property rights; the law deprived suspected slaves of the right to defend themselves in court, making it difficult to prove free status. In a de facto bribe, judges were paid a higher fee for a decision that confirmed a suspect as a slave than for one ruling that the suspect was free. Many Northerners who might have ignored slave issues in the South were confronted by local challenges that bound them to support slavery; this was a primary grievance cited by the Union during the American Civil War, the perception that Northern States ignored the fugitive slave law was a major justification for secession. The escape network was not underground nor a railroad, it was figuratively "underground" in the sense of being an underground resistance.
It was known as a "railroad" by way of the use of rail terminology in the code. The Underground Railroad consisted of meeting points, secret routes and safe houses, personal assistance provided by abolitionist sympathizers. Participants organized in small, independent groups. Escaped slaves would move north along the route from one way station to the next. "Conductors" on the railroad came from various backgrounds and included free-born blacks, white abolitionists, former slaves, Native Americans. Church clergy and congregations played a role the Religious Society of Friends, Congregationalists and Reformed Presbyterians, as well as certain sects of mainstream denominations such as branches of the Methodist church and American Baptists. Without the presence and support of free black residents, there would have been no chance for fugitive slaves to pass into freedom unmolested. To reduce the risk of infiltration, many people associated with the Underground Railroad knew only their part of the operation and not of the whole scheme.
"Conductors" transported the fugitives from station to station. A conductor sometimes pretended to be a slave. Once a part of a plantation, the conductor would direct the runaways to the North. Slaves traveled at about 10 -- 20 miles to each station, they rested, a message was sent to the next station to let the station master know the runaways were on their way. They would stop at the so-called "stations" or "depots" during the rest; the stations were located in barns, under church floors, or in hiding places in caves and hollowed-out riverbanks. The resting spots where the runaways could sleep and eat were given the code names "stations" and "depots", which were held by "station masters". "Stockholders" gave money or supplies for assistance. Using biblical references, fugitives referred to Canada as the "Promised Land" or "Heaven" and the Ohio River as the "River Jordan", which marked the boundary between slave states and free states. Although the fugitives sometimes traveled on boat or train, they traveled