Freedom Center celebrates International Underground Railroad Month

Press Release

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

Unpacking the Underground Railroad – Wednesday, September 7

Join Freedom Center staff and scholars for a discussion of the Underground Railroad’s history and enduring legacy. Panelists help unpack the clandestine journey to freedom and why the lessons of the Underground Railroad remain critical in today’s pursuit of social justice.

Panelists include:

  • Christy Hyman, Assistant Professor of Human Geography, Mississippi State University
  • Rita R. Thomas, Administrator, Central State University
  • William Parrish, Founder and Executive Director, Eckstein Cultural Arts Center

The live Unpacking the Underground Railroad panel is free but registration is required. People can register at

Freedom Lecture: From Enslavement to Poverty – Friday, September 16

In partnership with the Greenwood Rising History Center, the Freedom Center is exploring the legacies of Black resilience from the Underground Railroad through the early 20th century. From the free Black communities of 19th-century Little Africa along the banks of the Ohio River to Black Wall Street thriving in the Greenwood District of early 20th-century Tulsa, these thriving communities have been subject to devastating violence and racism. Yet even in the wake of these tragedies, communities persevered and rebuilt, inspiring us through the triumph of the human spirit.

Philip Armstrong, Ohio native and interim executive director of Greenwood Rising Black Wall Street History Center, joins the Freedom Center for a discussion of tragedy and triumph from chattel slavery and the Underground Railroad, the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre and the resilience of Greenwood Rising.

The lecture is free but registration is required. Register at

Fifth Third Community Day offers free admission – Sunday, September 18

The Freedom Center is offering free admission from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, September 18 as part of their Fifth Third Community Days, made possible through the Fifth Third Foundation. Local organizations are joining the Freedom Center to discuss the history and significance of the Underground Railroad, including:

  • Boone County Borderlands Archive & History Center
  • Cincinnati Type & Print Museum
  • College Hill Historical Society, including Diane Porter, co-author of Escape of the 28
  • Erlanger Historical Society
  • Harriet Beecher Stowe House
  • John Parker House
  • John Rankin House
  • Healthy Historical Society

Freedom Film Series: The Loyola Project – Monday, September 19

In 1963, at the height of the Civil Rights movement, the Loyola Ramblers of Chicago broke racial barriers and changed college basketball forever. Join the Freedom Center and LADD Inc. for the latest in their Freedom Film Series: The Loyola Project. Nearly 60 years after their groundbreaking first season, the legendary Ramblers team is reexamined by Loyola basketball player and co-captain Lucas Williamson. Woven together with archival footage and present-day interviews, their captivating story continues to provide inspiration in the ongoing fight for equality.

Following the film screening, join director of The Loyola Project Patrick Creadon and University of Cincinnati basketball player and Olympic Gold Medalist George Wilson for a conversation on race, sports and competing for equality.

Doors open for the screening at 5:30 p.m., Monday, September 19. Tickets are $15 and available now at A virtual streaming option is also available.


About the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center opened in August 2004 on the banks of the Ohio River in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. Since then, more than 1.3 million people have visited its permanent and changing exhibits and public programs, inspiring everyone to take courageous steps for freedom. Two million people have utilized educational resources online at, working to connect the lessons of the Underground Railroad to inform and inspire today’s global and local fight for freedom. Partnerships include Historians Against Slavery, Polaris Project, Free the Slaves, US Department of State and International Justice Mission. In 2014, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center launched a new online resource in the fight against modern slavery,

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