How The Mississippi River Was an Escape For Slaves

It runs through ten states, and many people today just see the Mississippi River as a bunch of water. However, for the enslaved in the country years ago, the river represented something worlds away from oppression. Lauren McCoy dove deep to explore how it was a means of freedom.

The Mississippi was the main artery of America's pre-railroad economy-- transporting boat fulls of cash crops and the slaves who tended them during the early 1800's.

"When it landed, it landed in New Orleans, That's where the colored people was sold at," said Historian Dr. Don Hernandez, ""History reports that people who were enslaved and who were working in this area from time to time sought that freedom by escaping across the Mississippi River."

An irony not lost on students of Southern University, Louisiana's oldest historically black university,  founded at the eastern edge of that hopeful, yet dangerous, point.

"I've definitely always been proud to call myself an alumni of Southern University, but now, I definitely have more of a spiritual connection to it knowing that my people had to swim across the river to get to freedom," shared Alumni Lakeith Lewis. 

Today, the river sustains jobs for more than 580,000 people, creating over 150 Billion dollars in revenue for the US economy.  

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