The Underground Railroad was a network of secret routes and safe houses established in the United States during the early to mid-1800s, used by enslaved African-Americans to escape into free states. Various other routes led to Canada and Mexico, where slavery had been abolished. An early escape route running south toward Florida existed from the late 17th century until Florida became a United States territory in 1821 (ending the safe haven for escaped slaves was the main reason Florida changed nationality). However, the network now generally known as the Underground Railroad was formed in the late 1700s. It ran north and grew steadily until the Civil War began. Research suggests that by 1850, 100,000 slaves had escaped via the "Railroad". British North America (present-day Canada) was a desirable destination, as its long border gave many points of access. It was also further from slave catchers and beyond the reach of the United States' Fugitive Slave Acts. More than 30,000 people were said to have escaped there via the Underground Railroad during its 20-year peak period.
We honor and draw attention to the tradition of resistance through this design.
Hand printed in Philadelphia | Unisex Cut (Average Fit) | Size Chart
The “Freedom Summer” collection focuses on the nostalgia of past Summer activities used by African Americans as a tactic of subversion and self-care. It is a call to action to re-engage in these activities during the current climate of political unrest. It is also a commemoration of these activities. The name of the collection is a reference to the 1964 voter registration drive of the same name.
Reclaim BLK is a collaborative project between BLK MKT Vintage and Philadelphia Printworks which launched in 2018. The collaboration utilizes African American cultural iconography to reimagine the narratives of historical events, artifacts, spaces and communities that have been forgotten, lost and devalued while celebrating the multitudinous legacies of black culture.
Visit our Community Partners page to see the organizations and work supported by your purchase.