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Black Heritage Trail Spring Symposium

Black Heritage Trail Spring Symposium – Myth, Reality & Mapping the Underground Railroad

St. John’s Church
101 Chapel St.
Portsmouth, NH 03801
United States

An Interactive Workshop & Panel Discussion

Few historic institutions from the black past have attracted contemporary attention more than the Underground Railroad. Tales of white abolitionists who steered escaped enslaved men, women and children through the secretive world of special codes, false walls and hide-outs in attics, barns and cellars, have sometimes distorted historical facts.

Separating these facts from fiction has lead scholars and independent researchers to explore different avenues such as oral history, African American cultural landscapes, archaeology, geography, and material culture to uncover a truer story.

This symposium will take a critical look at the true nature of the movement as it wove its way through old established New England towns. Additionally, the program will offer a hands-on workshop that will give the newly interested and the veteran researcher ideas on how to research their towns involvement in the UGRR and new paths to explore. Through sharing their own local story of a place or a particular person and by using a place-based approach centered on maps and mapping participants can piecing together history of a place, a region and ultimately their state.

Bring your questions and your problems, solutions and discoveries along with copies of historic maps if you have them, addresses, photographs, narrative accounts or just bring your interest, we will supply the rest.

Program Outline
9:00am Guided Tour
Stories of the Underground Railroad in Portsmouth, NH
Tour Guide & Sankofa Scholar Angela Matthews

10:30 AM Panel/ Discussion
Bridging the Past to the Present: Stories of the Underground Railroad in Our Region
Maria Madison, President of the BOD Robins House Museum, Concord MA
Lynn Clark, Former Director of the Indian Museum, Warner NH
L’Merchie Frazier, Director of Education and Interpretation, Museum of African American History, Boston MA
Jane Williamson, Director Emerita for Rokeby Museum, Ferrisburgh VT

12:30 PM Lunch

1:00 PM Living History Presentation
Before Rosa Parks, there was Ellen Garrison Jackson
Maria Madison as Ellen Garrison Jackson

1:30 PM Interactive Workshop
Mapping the Underground Railroad in Your Town
Dr. Cheryl LaRoche, Department of American Studies, University of Maryland, College Park.