The Center for AntiSlavery Studies




TOWN MEETINGS - A RESOUNDING SUCCESS!

Public pleased to take part in local history project
"The Place I Call Home: Northeastern Pennsylvania's Underground Railroad History"

GENERAL INFO

The Center for Anti-Slavery Studies and Keystone College invited the public to a series of Town Meetings to discuss the local history project, The Place I Call Home: Northeastern Pennsylvania’s Underground Railroad History. The multi-county project will spend the next few years researching and interpreting the under-told role that Northeastern Pennsylvania played in the national Anti-Slavery movement.

The Town Meetings, held during the second week of April 2005, introduced the goals and timeline of The Place I Call Home, and invited public participation in the research process. They also served as a forum to introduce the project's newly hired research coordinator, Dr. Sarah Smith Ducksworth.

Due to the large geographic area of Northeastern PA, the meetings were held on three different nights - one night in the Poconos, one night in the Valley Region, and the final night in the Endless Mountains. A second round of Town Meetings to report on project progress will be held in the Summer of 2005.

More about The Place I Call Home
Town Meeting Program

WHAT IT WAS ALL ABOUT

Special guest speakers were Dr. Sarah Smith Ducksworth, newly hired Research Coordinator for the project, and Karen James, Manager of the Underground Railroad Initiative of the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission. The message given by both speakers was one of re-educating the public on the realities of the Underground Railroad. Attendees were urged to release commonly held preconceptions of the UGRR in favor of the infinitely more interesting reality of what practically happened during this most important social movement in our country's history.

Photo
Research Coordinator,
Dr. Sarah Smith Ducksworth,
with Sherman Wooden, President of CASS

It was an enthusiastic and wonderfully diverse group of people that showed up at each of the Town Meeting locations across the project area. 100% of those responding to a participant evaluation said they found the presentation most informative. For the majority of those attending, it was their first time at an Underground Railroad program. For some, it was their first time at a local history program. Each person had different reasons for attending, but they all came away invigorated - amazed and proud at the role that Northeastern Pennsylvania, and the Commonwealth at large, played in the Anti-Slavery movement. Many were eager to become further involved in the project.

The Place I Call Home seeks to document the Underground Railroad activities in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Project coordinator, Kim Glemboski, discussed how the research team will utilize primary resources to gather the hard facts of what happened in our region. A major part of the project is to invite residents and former residents of this region to include information and items that they have which might add texture and depth to the facts and documentation. It will always be the human stories that move us and connect us to our past. The research team anticipates that we will find and work collectively to preserve a rich heritage here in the mountains and valleys of Northeastern Pennsylvania... the stories and actions of every day people going about their lives in an extraordinary time.

The UGRR history uncovered will be made available to the public in a variety of ways:

- a traveling exhibit that will be accompanied by a variety of public programs
- a companion DVD and web site that will contain curriculum/research resources
- a guide to conducting local Underground Railroad research

The Research & Planning Phase currently underway will wrap up in the Fall of 2006. Project implementation will begin immediately afterward, with final completion of the project anticipated in 2008.

HOW TO GET INVOLVED

In the coming months, there will be several opportunities for interested persons to become involved in the project. If you would like us to contact you to discuss volunteer opportunities, please email us or call us toll free at 877-772-6084. If you are not already receiving email updates from CASS regarding The Place I Call Home, please sign up for these updates on the left border of this page.

WHAT ARE WE LOOKING FOR?

To research and preserve Northeastern Pennsylvania’s Underground Railroad history, the research team will rely upon primary source documents from courthouses, libraries, historical societies, churches and more. But to tell the very richest story we can, this data should be complemented by information that goes beyond mere facts.

There are many items that can illustrate the incredible events that took place in the lives of ordinary people during the Anti-Slavery era. Should you have an interest in participating in this exciting process, look for these and other relevant items in your family or community:

Family Bibles
Deeds/Wills
Birth/Death Records
Photographs
Letters
Journals/Diaries
Newspaper Clippings
Military Papers
Family Genealogy or Research
Business Records
Church Records

Remember, please keep your focus on information or items relevant to the Underground Railroad or Anti-Slavery movements. Don’t know if what you found will be of use? Have other questions? Feel free to contact CASS any time through any of the following means:

The Center for Anti-Slavery Studies  75 Church Street, Montrose PA 18801
Web Site
: www.antislaverystudies.org Email: info@antislaverystudies.org
Telephone
: 570-278-6837 Toll Free Project Hotline: 877-772-6084

MORE INFO...

For more information about The Place I Call Home, contact The Center for Anti-Slavery Studies toll free at 877-772-6084, or at info@antislaverystudies.org .

Special thanks

To the hosts of these Town Meetings:
Susquehanna County Historical Society and St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Montrose
Monroe County Historical Society  and the Western Pocono Community Library
Lackawanna County Historical Society and the Houlihan-McLean Center, Univ of Scranton

To the Funding Partners for "The Place I Call Home":
National Endowment for the Humanities
Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission
Pennsylvania Humanities Council
Lackawanna Heritage Valley
Endless Mountains Heritage Region
Luzerne Foundation
Scranton Area Foundation

To our Institutional Partner for their consistent support:
Keystone College, La Plume

 


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