History on Location Follow Up: Part Two – UGRR in PA

Note:  This post continues this one.

Wednesday was a day of visiting Underground Railroad sites around Pennsylvania.  There was a wide range of sites representing the Underground Railroad network in Pennsylvania – a courthouse, a wheat field, and a cistern – that when pieced together provided a new definition of the Underground Railroad.

We began with a trip to the Carlisle Courthouse, the site of an 1847 struggle to stop the seizure of fugitive slaves which resulted in a Maryland slave owner’s death.  By the end of the day, we were left understanding that courthouses – at least as much as basement burrows – are true UGRR sites. Introducing Carlisle – Audio

Next, we were off to Christiana, where a dramatic 1851 standoff over runaways filled the newspapers (with wildly different responses – compare Freedom’s Trial at Christiana and The Fugitive Slave Riot.)  The conflict led to a federal treason trial – the result of which likely led John Brown to face different charges years later.  A letter from the slave catcher to the slaveholder reveals a great deal about the limitations of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act.  This is a story calling out for a John Sayles movie.

Christiana Part 1 – Audio; Christiana Part 2 Audio

From Christiana, we headed to Lancaster – where excavations at the law offices of Thaddeus Stevens may reveal a UGRR hiding spot.

Thaddeus Stevens Site – audio; Thaddeus Stevens Site Part 2 – audio

Finally, we visited James Buchanan’s Wheatland, where guides argue that it’s not really fair to rank any president as the worst in history.

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4 responses to “History on Location Follow Up: Part Two – UGRR in PA

  1. Pingback: History on Location Follow-Up: Part Three – Harper’s Ferry and Charles Town « Teaching American History in SW Washington

  2. Pingback: History On Location Part 4: Antietam, Lincoln’s Cottage, Ford’s Theatre « Teaching American History in SW Washington

  3. Pingback: History on Location Follow-Up Part 5: Archives, African American Civil War Memorial and Museum, American History Museum « Teaching American History in SW Washington

  4. Pingback: Another round of Lesson Study « Teaching American History in SW Washington

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