A national Underground Railroad training event has been set for September 11-14, 2019 at Niagara University in Niagara Falls, NY. The theme for this training is Crossings: Bridging the Authentic Underground Railroad Past to the Present.
The Underground Railroad can be viewed as a migration story of enslaved people who self-liberated and claimed their freedom. Niagara Falls is an internationally-known destination known for its powerful waterfalls. Lesser known, but equally as powerful, are the stories of the Underground Railroad in Niagara Falls and throughout New York State.
Some of the most significant crossing points for persons escaping slavery in the South were in New York State, along the border with Canada. Efforts to abolish the institution of slavery generated significant pro- and anti-slavery activities that played out in the courts, in the New York State Legislature, in the halls of Congress, and on the streets and in the homes of communities across New York State.
The work of descendants, community researchers, historians, and others are elevating the Underground Railroad story from the mythical, unknown past to a documented history of a grass roots resistance movement.
The format is two days of workshops with four different tracks, each a half day in length.
Thursday, September 12 the morning sessions will address the history of the Underground Railroad (UGRR), the latest scholarship and interpretation, transnationalism, and the UGRR in international context in the Atlantic World.
Thursday afternoon the presentations will concentrate on protecting the authenticity of the Underground Railroad.
Friday morning, September 13 the present and future of community economic development, and actualizing heritage tourism potential and community-driven approaches to provide sustainability to sites and their communities will be explored.
Friday afternoon sessions will examine the relevance and legacy of the Underground Railroad, the significance of 19th Century Underground Railroad history to the 21st Century, and making community owners of the UGRR history and using Underground Railroad history to empower the community.
Field experiences are arranged for Thursday, September 11 and Saturday, September 14.
The program will be hosted by the National Park Service, National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom (NTF) Program, the Underground Railroad Consortium of New York State, the Niagara Falls National Heritage Area, the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center, Niagara University, and the Association for the Study of African American Life and History.
More information on the event is available online.