Porsha Stewart: Underground Railroad Was an Actual Train, Right?

Tuesday, 24 Dec 2013 09:20 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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For those who thought the Underground Railroad was a real train, they can sympathize for "Real Housewives of Atlanta" star Porsha Stewart who had the same confusion during a recent episode of the reality show.

Stewart, granddaughter of late civil rights icon Hosea Williams, appeared confused during Sunday's episode of the show in which the stars visited several historical civil rights landmarks.

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A tour guide explained to the group how a safe house was used during the Underground Railroad movement.

"Well, there has to be an opening for the railroad at some point because somebody is driving the train," said Stewart, the ex-wife of former Pittsburgh Steelers Quarterback Kordell Stewart. When the tour guide and others realized her confusion, they sought to explain the Underground Railroad to her.

"It wasn't a train, baby," Phaedra Parks told her, but it appeared Stewart still did not quite get it. "That's just a euphemism."

"It's almost hurtful to me to watch her be so dumb," said Kenya Moore.

Another of the show's stars, Cynthia Bailey, seemed floored by Stewart's lack of knowledge, given her family background.

"Really? You thought there was an actual train that took them through?" Bailey said. "Her grandfather Hosea Williams just rolled over in his grave."

The Underground Railroad was a stealth network of people who helped fugitive slaves escape to the North and to Canada. The network freed an estimated 100,000 slaves between 1810 and 1850, ushering them to various safe houses, according to PBS.

The movement got its name in 1831 and the system even adopted railroad names for its covert operation, which at that time was illegal in many states. Homes and businesses where slaves would rest and eat were called "stations" and "depots" and were run by "stationmasters."

People who provided goods and money were "stockholders," and the "conductor" transported slaves from one station to the next, noted PBS.

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