Freedmen’s Bureau Indexing Campaign

Freedom Center Voices

Freedmen’s Bureau Indexing Campaign

Last Friday, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center hosted the Freedmen’s Bureau Indexing Campaign announcement. FamilySearch, the largest genealogy organization in the world, announced the digital release of over 4 million Freedmen’s Bureau historical records and the launch a nationwide volunteer indexing effort. The event was held in the Harriet Tubman Theater and a livestream was broadcast from the main press event that took place at the California African American Museum in Los Angeles. There were several speakers at the event in Los Angeles, including Todd Christofferson, senior-level leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Sherri Camp, vice president for geneaology of the Afro-American Historical & Genealogical Society.

Following the live stream, visitors in the Harriet Tubman Theater had the opportunity to discuss their efforts with FamilySearch and hear from:

  • National Underground Railroad Freedom Center vice president and provost, Dr. Michael Battle
  • Afro-American Historical & Genealogical Society vice president for history, Gene Stephenson
  • National Underground Railroad Freedom Center John Parker Library director, Darrell Wolff
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Cincinnati East Ohio Stake president, Joseph W. Bradley

It took nearly ten years for the records to be digitized and now the hope is to have all the names indexed in the next six to nine months. If you would like to help with this nationwide indexing campaign or learn more about your family history, you can right here at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center! The John Parker Library offers free family history resources and is located on the fourth floor of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. Volunteers working in the library can help you join the indexing campaign and help you learn more about your ancestry.

The John Parker Library is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. -  4 p.m. To learn more about the Freedmen's Bureau Indexing Campaign, visit

Fair Trade Gift Ideas for Mother’s Day

Freedom Center Voices

Fair Trade Gift Ideas for Mother's Day

Still trying to figure out what to get mom this Mother's Day? The Freedom Center Gift Shop is full of great gift ideas, including beautiful handmade, fair trade accessories and jewelry that both celebrate mothers and elevate women and girls around the world.

This month's featured fair trade items come to us from the Nomi Network and Baskets of Cambodia--  two non-profits working to empower survivors of human trafficking with economic and educational opportunities.

The Nomi Network was founded in 2009, creating economic opportunities for survivors and women at risk of human trafficking. Through their network, women gain employable skills, secure vital income and educate their daughters, breaking the cycle of poverty and exploitation.

Baskets of Cambodia was formed in 1996 in war-torn Cambodia, in villages surrounding the famous temples of Angkor Watt. Their philosophy is to create high quality products that lend pride and self-esteem to all of people involved. In addition to finding a beautiful gift for mom that also empowers women and girls, members of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center receive an additional 10% off their purchase.

If you're looking for a meaningful family experience this Mother's Day weekend, bring your family in to see powerful and thought-provoking temporary exhibitions discussing civil and human rights open this spring:



Follow the journeys of local Auschwitz survivors, Bella Ouziel and Werner Coppel and explore how life and the spirit of resistance continued amidst the horrors of Auschwitz.


In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Power of the Vote, explores and chronicles the history of voting rights in America from the Reconstruction Era to the Civil Rights Movement to present day.

Click here to view our seasonal hours and plan your visit.

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-Assia Johnson, Public Relations and Social Media Coordinator

Images: The Freedom Center Gift Shop display, featuring Baskets of Cambodia and Nomi Network accessories and clothes.

Docent Stories: James Brock, Celebrating 10 Years as a NURFC Docent

Freedom Center Voices

Docent Stories: James Brock, Celebrating 10 Years as a NURFC Docent

When I first learned of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (NURFC), I was newly retired and looking for ways to give back to the community. During that time, Candace Simmons was the volunteer coordinator at the NURFC and she invited me to be part of a committee discussing how volunteers would be an integral and essential part of the new center’s success. After learning more, I knew that this new role was right for me and became the volunteer stage manager for the NURFC ground-breaking ceremony, where I had the pleasure of escorting First Lady Laura Bush and Muhammad Ali to the podium to address the crowd.

James Brock touring a group on the 2nd floor in front of the Slave Pen

Needless to say, my volunteer commitment was strengthened.  This newly enhanced commitment followed me as I transitioned to become a member of the inaugural docent (exhibit guide) class under the management of Chris Shires.  The class was composed of some of the same docents who are still volunteering at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center today. It didn’t take long for me to realize the value of my volunteer commitment to the NURFC.  For me, it reflects a sense of belonging. For them, I believe it reflects their commitment to offer our visitors knowledge that can light up their lives, and at the same time, challenge them to become a light for others.

Through structured development and meaningful community experiences, I can explore and understand different cultures and educate our guests and visitors.  One such model is the current special exhibition, Unlocking the Gates of Auschwitz 70 Years Later. Such stories are absolutely necessary, but are so infrequently told.  As a docent of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, I’m inspired and believe that I can make a difference in the world and in our community.

James Brock, docent, National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

Jimmie Lee Jackson: The Murder that Sparked the Selma to Montgomery Marches of 1965

Freedom Center Voices

Jimmie Lee Jackson: The Murder that Sparked the Selma to Montgomery Marches of 1965

On February 26, 1965, Alabama civil rights activist Jimmie Lee Jackson died after he was brutally beaten and shot by Alabama State Trooper James Bonard Fowler during a peaceful voting rights march on February 18, 1965. His death would spark the Selma to Montgomery marches, organized by Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) Director of Direct Action James Bevel, in an effort to channel community outrage. The Selma to Montgomery marches, three in total, were organized as part of the Selma Voting Rights Movement, whose efforts led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 later that summer.

The first march took place on Sunday, March 7, a day that would become known as Bloody Sunday, when 600 peaceful marchers were met by state and local law men with tear gas and billy clubs on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Images of the violence in Alabama sparked national outrage and two days later, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a peaceful, symbolic march to the bridge.

After civil rights leaders received full protection to exercise their right to peacefully protest, the third and final march was held on Sunday, March 21, where over 3,000 marchers began the 54-mile trek to Montgomery. By the time they reached the steps of the state capitol on March 25, the number had grown to 25, 000.

In 2010, nearly 45 years after Jackson’s death, Alabama State Trooper James Bonard Fowler was indicted and plead guilty to misdemeanor manslaughter. He was sentenced to six months in prison. You can learn more about the history of voting rights in Power of the Vote, open now.

-Assia Johnson, Public Relations and Social Media Coordinator

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, @FreedomCenter, and on Facebook for more historical posts and images.

Images: Alabama activist Jimmie Lee Jackson, image of portrait Jimmie Lee Jackson in All for the Cause and image of the voting machine inside Power of the Vote.

A Day in the Life of a Museum Apprentice

Freedom Center Voices

A Day in the Life of a Museum Apprentice

As an museum apprentice at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, one part of my job is to go through the museum every day to make sure every single aspect of each exhibition is functioning, undamaged and ready for a day of visitor interaction. I carefully walk into each exhibition as if I am visiting the museum for the first time, looking at every text panel, listening to all of the audio panels, manipulating all of the interactive displays and watching a small bit of each film. As I check items off on my list, I sometimes get quizzical looks from visitors wondering about my curious behavior. To be honest, if I wasn’t the one doing my job I would also find it strange to see someone pressing every single button and looking so closely at displays. But I try to normalize the experience for the people around me by explaining what I’m doing, and that is usually met with praise and awe that I’m lucky enough to explore our awesome exhibits every day.

A shot of the new Freedom Center exhibition, Foto Focus: New Voices.

Another aspect of daily museum walkthroughs is collecting the surveys from the Invisible: Slavery Today exhibition and the guest book reflections from the And Still We Rise exhibition. Every question, comment or concern gets read by me and entered into our records every day. In And Still We Rise, many people commented in hopes that the exhibit could travel to other states and now that it’s run here at the Freedom Center has ended, I am happy to say it is currently traveling all across the country on a two-year tour! In Invisible: Slavery Today, many commenters reflect on the surprising facts of modern day slavery that make them want to become involved as an abolitionist- so great news! There are now updated fact sheets at the end of the gallery and a new website, which list ways you can get involved.

Every visitor and all feedback is extremely appreciated and helpful in determining the future of our exhibitions so please continue to visit and let us know what you think!

-Brittany Vernon, IMLS Coca Cola Museum Studies Apprentice

Emmett Till: When America Could No Longer Ignore Jim Crow

Freedom Center Voices

Emmett Till: When America Could No Longer Ignore Jim Crow

On August 21, 1955, 14-year old Emmett Till traveled from his hometown of Chicago to visit his cousins in Money, Mississippi. On August 31, his mutilated corpse was pulled from the Tallahatchie River.

What happened in between was one of the most infamous instances of racial injustice in our nation’s history. Emmett Till was young, black and outgoing. He had been raised in Chicago, where race relations were not as tense as in the South and where black people did not live in constant fear of their white neighbors. When he went to visit his cousins in Money, he was thrown headfirst into a world of extreme social inequality, a world whose dangers he did not fully understand.

Image Credit: The Lace Doesn't Lessen the Horror of Pulling Emmett from the Water, Charlotte O'Neal.

Emmett was resistant to the long list of rules and taboos that governed interactions between blacks and whites. He wowed the local children with stories of his white girlfriends back home, and he was brave enough to wolf whistle at the white woman working at the local general store. Stories of Emmett’s behavior toward Carolyn Bryant, the young woman at the general store, spread throughout Money. Her husband soon heard about the incident, and he decided he needed to teach Emmett a lesson.
Early in the morning on August 28, Roy Bryant and his half-brother J.W. Milam went to the home of Emmett’s uncle Mose Wright and demanded that Emmett come with them.

Three days later, Till’s body was found in the Tallahatchie River. His skull was deformed by a brutal beating, and one of his eyes had been gouged out. He had been shot and thrown into the river with a heavy fan blade attached to his neck with barbed wire.
Bryant and Milam were brought to court for Till’s kidnapping and murder, but after only an hour of deliberation, the all-white jury returned its verdict: not guilty. A year later, Bryant and Milam admitted to murdering Till in an interview with Look magazine.

In the days and weeks following Emmett Till’s murder, the act of violence was condemned by local media and white public figures. However, as the case received increasing national attention, Northern media outlets began attacking the climate of racial injustice in Mississippi, and locals began to indignantly defend Bryant and Milam. Black media outlets played a large role in expanding the notoriety of Till’s murder. When Jet magazine published a photo of Emmett’s disfigured remains, outrage spread throughout black communities nationwide.

The media coverage became a war between those calling for justice and those defending the status quo. No matter what side a person took, the battle could not be ignored because it had made its way into the family living room. Television made inequality visible in a way it never had been before. In a way, the tragedy served as a unifying force, concretizing and focusing the righteous anger of black people and other proponents of equality. This anger had been living beneath the surface and building in intensity for generations.
Till’s murder is considered to have set the Civil Rights Movement in motion. When Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery city bus, she was thinking of Emmett Till, she has said. After decades of segregation, humiliation and fear, black people in the South had decided that enough was enough.

This summer marks the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer-- when a diverse group of students and young activists mobilized en masse to travel to the regions where racism ruled and fight for voting rights and desegregation. Freedom Summer showed us the important role young people play in inciting action and creating change. It demonstrated the power of a community united, even if that community is brought together not by geography but by a shared passion and common goal.

Freedom Summer and the Civil Rights Movements had many successes: the end of de jure segregation, the reduction of discriminatory voting practices and the turning of national sentiment in favor of racial equality. However, the challenges faced by the participants in these movements are not unknown to those still fighting for racial equality today. Discrimination continues to fester in the workforce, the real estate market, the classroom, the voting booth and the newsroom. We still turn a blind eye to injustice. We still have a soft spot for the status quo. It was only one year ago when our Supreme Court struck down key provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This action has the potential to jeopardize disadvantaged Americans’ right to vote. 1964 was also the year that President Lyndon B. Johnson declared a war of poverty in America, enacting legislation meant to tackle the national poverty rate. However, wealth disparity in our country is on the rise, and Americans living in poverty are disproportionately people of color. A discriminatory penile system and the “school to prison pipeline” have led to the mass incarceration of black men and permanent barriers to voting and employment.

Three months ago, the kidnapping of more than 300 young women in Nigeria by an extremist group led to international outrage and the explosion of the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls. The kidnapping was an attack on the education of women. Now, as the outcry on social media dies down, the girls remain in captivity, and their families continue to fight for their safe return.
There are more people enslaved today than at any other time in human history, but their suffering goes largely unheard.
Just like the murder of Emmett Till, these realities deserve our righteous anger.

While the fight against modern slavery is gaining momentum worldwide, it has not yet matched the Civil Rights Movement in terms of national attention, support and action. It may seem like that modern abolitionism has not yet had its Emmett Till, but in reality there have been millions of Emmett Tills, millions of young men and women who have had their lives taken and their freedom stolen. As long as slaves remain nameless faces and slavery a nebulous concept far from our everyday lives, we will continue being content with the status quo.

Tatum Hunter, Public Relations Intern

Freedom Center Voices: Meet Gina Armstrong

Freedom Center Voices

Freedom Center Voices: Meet Gina Armstrong

Now that I've been at the Freedom Center for almost a year, regaling you with exciting behind-the-scenes tales of collections and exhibits, it's time to introduce myself.

I'm Gina Armstrong, one of the IMLS Coca-Cola Museum Studies Apprentices at the Freedom Center. I come to the Freedom Center fresh off a masters of library and information studies (MLIS), with an archival concentration, at the University of Alabama. Your next question is probably "How did you get from Alabama to Cincinnati? How did you even know about the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center?" Excellent questions. I have long been a social justice advocate, and spent my practicum time in graduate school working with the archives at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. The longing for freedom is just in my blood, I guess. I also have a longtime friend who has lived in the area for close to 20 years, so I'd been to visit the Freedom Center a couple of times before learning of the apprenticeship and applying.

Gina Armstrong inside Senzeni Na? Selected Photos from Mandela! Struggle and Triumph

As an archivist, my primary interest is in the artifacts themselves -- "the stuff," as I like to call it. With my information background, I want to make sure that the artifacts are stored, cataloged, and described in the best way to make them easy to access, both for visitors and staff. I've long been an obsessive list-maker and user of databases, so cataloging and describing material comes naturally to me and makes me happy in the best nerdy way.

Outside of work, I am a voracious reader, a fan of punk and '80s music, and a rabid fan of the New Orleans Saints. It will also come as no shock that New Orleans is my favorite city in the country, if not the world. I am a inveterate traveller, and I've been all over the U.S., to Brazil and Zimbabwe on service trips, Great Britain on study and pleasure trips several times, Germany a few times on visits with friends and pleasure trips, and Italy, Peru, and Paris for pure pleasure. It will perhaps not be very surprising that I'd like to visit the three other continents I've never seen.

I'm excited to continue my apprenticeship at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center for the next 12 months, learning more and more about museum work while fulfilling my passion for "the stuff."


-Gina Armstrong, IMLS Coca Cola Museum Studies Apprentice

Youth Action Against Modern-Day Slavery

Freedom Center Voices

Youth Action Against Modern-Day Slavery

You have raised my awareness…now what? One of biggest frustrations in the anti-trafficking movement is the idea that we, particularly youth and young adults, can’t do anything to significantly influence the fight against modern-day slavery. Our choice is either to do nothing – sinking into despair thinking we’re powerless – or to do what we can with what we have where we are. Every experience and decision leads to a different pathway, and these small life choices and acts build towards a bigger goal and vision. You may not be the CEO of an NGO or a globe-trotting emancipator, but you matter. Your efforts will make a difference.

Fair-trade chocolate, Nico Nelson

Learn More

The first and most important action you can take is to become well-versed in the subject; dig a bit deeper after your introduction to the issue of human trafficking. There’s misinformation out there, and it is crucial that you separate the myths from the realities. In doing so, you avoid tunnel vision and truly get a better idea of how multi-faceted trafficking is. Additionally, through the education process, you’ll become familiar with major stakeholders and reliable sources of information; as a result, you’ll strengthen your ability to direct others to accurate information. Your authority to engage others in the subject and the anti-trafficking movement’s credibility hinges on this knowledge base.

Learning is not limited to books and online research. Attend events such as the Trafficking in Persons Heroes Reception hosted at the Freedom Center every year. Find a World Affairs Council near you (there’s one in Cincinnati!) and join in on one of their conference calls. A recent call featured Luis CdeBaca, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.

Buy Fair Trade

Change starts with the individual, and other than learning more, another personal endeavor is to re-examine how our consumer choices feed the cycle of enslavement. Slave-made products are all around us, and yes, at this time it might be impossible to only purchase fair trade products. However, we can still make small advances towards promoting and supporting ethically-made goods. It starts with the following question: what do I really need to have, and what is a luxury item? For me, the answer is chocolate. I love it, but honestly, it’s a treat that I can live without. It’s the one item that I’ve pledged to buy only if it is free of slave labor. So, instead of grabbing candy every time I go to the grocery store, I save up and buy chocolate at a local fair trade shop.

Practicing this type of consumer activity is an exercise of mindfulness and gratitude. It makes us reflect on what we have, what we truly need and the implications of our purchases.

Learn more about fair trade here, and find a fair trade store near you.


Fair trade stores aren’t the only organizations looking to end modern-day slavery, and buying items isn’t the only way to financially support anti-trafficking work. There are a lot of NGOs and nonprofits that run much-needed programs, from investigation to reintegration. However, these organizations require funding. Many of them have individual fundraising pages. Ideas include marathons (5K runs for charity), garage sales, silent auctions and restaurant nights. Here’s a list of restaurants that donate a portion of proceeds during fundraising nights.

Volunteer/Intern Locally

Fundraising is one way to get directly connected with organizations fighting trafficking. Volunteering and interning locally are also ways to get involved. Direct volunteers (i.e., those who personally interact with clients) are usually 18 or older, but there are other roles to fill as well. The End Slavery Now Directory of Organizations can help you find groups in your area; in Cincinnati, there are several that address different aspects of human trafficking. Visit End Slavery CincinnatiTen Thousand VillagesJean R. Cadet Restavek OrganizationRestavek Freedom FoundationStop Traffick Fashion and Cincinnati Union Bethel to learn about their initiatives. Also, check out organizations that are not exclusively for trafficked persons. Detox houses, domestic abuse centers and shelters for minors often have volunteer opportunities. These are places that often serve trafficking survivors.

Volunteer/Intern Abroad

If you have a heart for serving but want to take that to the international level, check out Crossroads’ mission trip to India or Half the Sky Movement’s openings. End Slavery Now’s Antislavery Partners usually have a variety of volunteer and internship opportunities abroad.

Volunteer/Intern Virtually

You don’t have to leave the comfort of your home to help organizations. The U.S. State Department hires virtual student foreign service e-interns, and the United Nations has online volunteering opportunities.

Initiate a School Campaign

While volunteering or interning with organizations, you’ll find that there’s still an immense need for more people to get involved. You can be a recruiter and encourage others to take part in these anti-slavery efforts. Counselors, administrators and parents are always telling us to get involved in school. Starting a campaign against trafficking is a way to engage your school community in the conversation, and it will also help you develop communication and management skills. Campaign ideas include a simulation, play or film screening.

Who knows? Your school might already have an anti-slavery organization that could co-sponsor an event. If so, check out The Free Project and be part of the network of students striving to end slavery.

Host a Speaker

Campaign organizers often find it beneficial to host speakers or facilitate panel discussions. A passionate and knowledgeable speaker can move people and incite thought and conversation. There are a multitude of survivors, advocates and experts willing to share their work and their stories. Head to End Slavery Now’s list of Antislavery Partners and see which organizations have speakers on deck. International Justice Mission, for example, has a variety of experts that can talk about a wide range of topics – from justice operations to strategic initiatives.

Be a Speaker

You are also qualified to talk about human trafficking. We cannot negate the value of including kids in the conversation, and you can be the one to start that partnership. Most curricula in elementary, middle and high schools include a section on chattel slavery. These required class lectures are chances to introduce students to 21st century slavery in an age-appropriate manner. Give an overview of the situation, and ask questions that make them think. We build strong communities – and for that matter, strong anti-human trafficking communities – when we approach everyone in society. Each person, no matter how young or old, has something to contribute. Establish those ties by leading stimulating discussions, motivating others to become global citizens and cultivating the next generation of thinkers and problem-solvers.

Talent Show

Sometimes, we’d prefer to talk less and express more. Organizing or participating in a talent show is another way to raise awareness and give a voice to the anti-human trafficking cause. A talent showcase can include artwork, slam poetry, music and dance. There are several anti-human trafficking inspired pieces. Take a look at artwork from Artworks for Freedom, listen to this poem from the Polaris Project and check out these music videos  from MTV EXIT. The point is not to sensationalize or trivialize human trafficking but to express the truths about it through various methods.

Develop an App or Virtual Tour

There’s no limit to the ways in which you can creatively involve others in the anti-slavery dialogue. If you enjoy coding, programming or designing, consider creating an app or virtual tour related to human trafficking. You can develop something as complex as Slavery Footprint or create a virtual tour on YouTube (e.g.., have a progressive set of videos where viewers can learn about anti-trafficking laws and their outcomes).

Conduct Research

You can always explore fresh and innovative ways to contribute to human trafficking content, but remember that academic research is also necessary. Modern-day slavery only started to gain attention a few years ago, and there’s a dearth of rigorous and useful research material. Potential thesis topics could address human trafficking and its relationship to local law enforcement, state legislation, culture, global climate change, nationalism, foreign policy relations, economic sanctions, human development, etc.


If you like to write, research isn’t the only way to utilize this skill. You can write an op-ed or send a letter to your state representatives. Write encouraging letters to organizations helping trafficked persons or make cards for their clients. Be that positive light. No matter what role or sector someone is in, anti-human trafficking work is exhausting; there will be moments of discouragement and failure. Your contribution might be to lift people up with words of reassurance, reminders of success stories and cheers of inspirations.

Everyone has a different calling in life, and there are different levels of involvement. Given the options you can take, go confidently in the direction you choose and realize that you are an abolitionist. Take a look at the work of some young abolitionists:

·         Middle and high school students around the world have been fundraising for The A21 Campaign.

·         Read about Ellie Zika. She founded KidKnits at age nine out of a desire to promote fair labor and education in Rwanda.

·         Watch a preview of The Arts Effect NYC’s play on sex trafficking and the commercial sex trade.

Now, it’s your turn. Be a source of hope wherever you are and know that there are others fighting human trafficking along with you.

Post written by Cazzie Reyes, Contemporary Slavery Intern during Summer 2014. Cazzie is from Bradley University in Peroria, Illinois.

Image: Fair-trade chocolate, Nico Nelson.

Remembering Lois Rosenthal

Freedom Center Voices

Remembering Lois Rosenthal

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center was saddened to hear of the passing of an icon of the Cincinnati community, Lois Rosenthal.

While she is perhaps best remembered as a patron of the arts community, Lois was a tremendous supporter of the Freedom Center as well, supporting our mission from the very beginning. She was a highly motivating, informed and proactive member of our board, and her advocacy for ensuring that the history we tell impacts our actions today was never-ending. Along with her husband, Richard, she made two significant contributions to the Freedom Center, giving to our capital campaign, "Lighting Freedom's Flame," as well as helping to fund our Invisible exhibit, the first permanent exhibit on the issue of modern slavery.

Our condolences go out to Richard and all of Lois's family. She will be dearly missed, but her legacy will positively impact Cincinnati for many years to come.

--Francie S. Hiltz and Marty Dunn, co-chairs of the board of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, and Rev. Damon Lynch, Jr., and John Pepper, honorary co-chairs.

Meet the Newest Freedom Center Team Member: Brittany Vernon

Freedom Center Voices

Meet the Newest Freedom Center Team Member: Brittany Vernon

This week I would like to honor healers, women that brought the tradition of herbal healing to America from Africa using plants, roots, bark and animals to make medicine. Enslavement brought a lot of healers from Africa. If they came across plants they didn't know, they learned about them from either Native Americans or by trial and error. There was always a healer around that could help ease the pain and suffering of both the enslaved and the free.

Brittany's museum selfie inside And Still We Rise. Featured quilt: Madame C. J. Walker by Latifah Shakir

Hello, my name is Brittany Vernon and I am the newest IMLS Coca Cola Museum Studies Apprentice. I recently graduated from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, with a degree in Africana Studies where I focused on the artistic and literary contributions to American history and culture by African Americans. I have always been interested in history, but it wasn’t until I started learning about African American contributions to American history and culture that I knew it was my passion. I am obsessed with historical artifacts and uncovering the mysterious past lives of the objects and people that are discussed in museums. I am excited about my opportunity to share my passion of history with you and what history I'll uncover during my time at the Freedom Center. It is my hope that I inspire new explorers-- there are stories all around us waiting to be revealed!

Brittany Vernon, IMLS Coca Cola Museum Studies Apprentice