African American News and Genealogy

This site was developed to provide you with news that relates to African American Genealogy, History and News. Please feel free to forward this link to others. I hope you enjoy this site and good luck with your research! Cheers, Kenyatta D. Berry Managing Director

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Discovering The Underground Railroad

As the first state to abolish slavery in 1780, Pennsylvania was a key part of the Underground Railroad. The abolitionists and free blacks within the state’s borders acted boldly and inspired others. Today, Pennsylvania is creating new and different ways for visitors to learn more about the risks and sacrifices that helped change society through a series of attractions and special events. One of the main routes of the Underground Railroad was through central Pennsylvania and much of the escape route ran along Route 30, which is also known as the Old Lincoln Highway. Towns along Route 30, like Gettysburg, York, Columbia, Lancaster and Philadelphia, were home to hundreds of abolitionists. Many of them were the first contact that freedom seekers encountered after they left the South. In an effort to revive the legacy of this route, historical societies in central and eastern Pennsylvania have formed Quest for Freedom to tell the story of what was once a major network of flight and survival. Visit for information on attractions, tours and special events and packages throughout the summer. York native William C. Goodridge, one of the most active conductors in the Underground Railroad who helped save thousands of slaves, was also a participant in the Christiana Riots of 1851. Goodridge defied laws and risked imprisonment to house and transport Africans. His home now serves as a museum where tours and a first-hand perspective on people involved in the Underground Railroad can be explored. Visit the Quest for Freedom Web site, or contact the York Convention and Visitors Bureau at 717-852-9675, ext. 110, for hours. Although Route 30 was a hotbed for Underground Railroad activity, significant events took place throughout the state. Stories of rebellion and triumph abound in Cumberland County, where half of all enslaved Africans in Pennsylvania lived. The McClintock riot of 1847, led by Dickinson University professor John McClintock who, with the help of free black men, rushed a carriage returning escaped slaves to Maryland, took place in Cumberland County. Cumberland County was so rebellious that Confederate soldiers attempted to capture civilians in addition to slaves. Richard Woods was one of those civilians and one of the most effective conductors of the Underground Railroad. Looking to share these lesser known stories, the region offers tours of historical Underground Railroad sites. Visit the Educational Programs section of for information on how to book a tour. Fleeing and resisting the confederate south were just part of the struggle to obtain freedom. Newly-freed slaves often struggled to settle and purchase homes. In the northeastern coal region of Lackawanna County, however, Pennsylvanians were viewed as progressive. Participating in notable anti-slavery activities, many of its residents, churches, and institutions worked for the advancement of freed slaves and helped African Americans establish themselves in the community. In A Place I Call Home: Explorations of the Underground Railroad in Northeastern Pennsylvania special tours July 29-30 and Aug. 19-20 will bring these efforts to life. Visit for more information. Other special events planned throughout the summer include: · Davis-Bailey Family: Our Town Our Stories – An ongoing exhibit at the house museum of a former colored troop soldier. Contact the Pike County Historical Society, or visit · Tribute to Freedom’s Crossing Presents African American Heritage in Columbia – An interactive tour highlighting colored troops and abolitionists, running July 15-Aug. 26. Visit for more information. · Passport to Freedom – Tours and ceremonies will highlight the town of Blairsville’s fight to resist slavery, Aug. 18-19. For more information go to · Taking a Stand for Freedom: The Underground Railroad in Philadelphia – Reenactments will take place at Mother Bethel AME Church, the Civil War & Underground Railroad Museum and the Johnson House in Germantown. Meet Harriet Tubman, William Still and other “conductors” Aug. 19, Sept. 16 and Oct. 21. For details visit The Pennsylvania Tourism Office, under the state Department of Community and Economic Development, is dedicated to fulfilling the needs and aspirations of travelers by presenting them with the information and resources they need to plan and enjoy the activities, attractions and destinations that are uniquely Pennsylvania. For more information about Pennsylvania’s tourism industry, go to or call (800) VISIT PA POSTED 060720_1400 ET


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