Freedom Center celebrates International Underground Railroad Month
Programs and exhibit unpack the enduring legacy of the Underground Railroad
CINCINNATI, OH (September 1, 2022) — The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is giving people plenty of opportunities to celebrate Ohio’s first International Underground Railroad Month. A slate of programming and a curated exhibition are helping to supplement the Freedom Center’s existing exhibits honoring the history and enduring legacy of the Underground Railroad.
With the signing of Ohio HB 340 in June 2022, Ohio became the 12th state to designate September International Underground Railroad Month. The Freedom Center is rooted in the stories of the Underground Railroad and its location on the banks of the Ohio River punctuates the location’s importance. As freedom seekers crossed the swollen Ohio River into the free state of Ohio, conductors and communities along the river and throughout the state helped by providing food from their pantries and shelter for exhausted, freezing families. With courage, cooperation and perseverance, enslaved people crossed the river and navigated the trails and wilderness as they and conductors risked their lives in the pursuit of freedom.
“The Underground Railroad was the nation’s first large scale social justice movement and its lessons endure as we continue this journey for justice,” said Woodrow Keown, Jr., president and COO of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. “I was honored to be in the room as Ohio designated September International Underground Railroad Month and I’m excited to use the resources and platform of the Freedom Center to share the lessons of the Underground Railroad with a new generation of freedom conductors.”
An exhibition, curated in partnership with Google Arts and Culture, commemorates the courage of freedom seekers and conductors of the Underground Railroad and celebrates African Americans’ enduring contributions to culture such as food and music. Objects displayed in the exhibition are pulled from the Freedom Center’s collections and include The Underground Railroad Records, written by conductor William Still chronicling the stories of more than 640 people who self-liberated through the Underground Railroad; an 1833 advertisement for a public slave trade in Charleston, South Carolina; a doll made from yarn and rags; and a 1963 special issue of Ebony magazine commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. The exhibition will be open on the Freedom Center’s third floor from September 1 to 30 and can also be viewed online at https://artsandculture.google.com/story/IgWBfnkJaRH7Gg.