Northern Kentucky University

Poster Title

Researching the Underground Railroad in Kentucky

Institution

Northern Kentucky University

Abstract

The Underground Railroad is an important part of United States history. Many scholars, such as Prince Brown, Spencer Crew, and J. Blaine Hudson, have described this incredible period of our country's history as the first multi-racial and multi-class human rights movement of this nation. Mostly led by free and fugitive African-Americans, this crusade impacted the lives of thousands of black and white Americans for numerous decades during the antebellum period. For those who live in the tri-state region of southern Indiana, southwestern Ohio and northern Kentucky, the stories of various individuals involved in this venture are legendary. It seems that wherever you turn, one discovers a narrative about a person (or persons), neighborhood or community that was at one time connected to the origin and development of the Underground Railroad. Recently there has been a plethora of books and articles published about the history and legacy of the Underground Railroad, with particular focus on Cincinnati, Louisville, and various parts of southern Indiana. However, most of these works have overlooked the important role that Kentuckians of both races have played in the Underground Railroad. Perhaps this omission can be explained by the lack of available sources on the activities in the Bluegrass State. Nevertheless, the goal of this presentation is to solve this dilemma by discussing how one can meticulously research the history, development and impact of the Underground Railroad in Kentucky. More specifically, I will illustrate the process of looking for sources from the Internet, libraries, bibliographies and databases to show that clearly Kentucky was an important part of the Underground Railroad.

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Researching the Underground Railroad in Kentucky

The Underground Railroad is an important part of United States history. Many scholars, such as Prince Brown, Spencer Crew, and J. Blaine Hudson, have described this incredible period of our country's history as the first multi-racial and multi-class human rights movement of this nation. Mostly led by free and fugitive African-Americans, this crusade impacted the lives of thousands of black and white Americans for numerous decades during the antebellum period. For those who live in the tri-state region of southern Indiana, southwestern Ohio and northern Kentucky, the stories of various individuals involved in this venture are legendary. It seems that wherever you turn, one discovers a narrative about a person (or persons), neighborhood or community that was at one time connected to the origin and development of the Underground Railroad. Recently there has been a plethora of books and articles published about the history and legacy of the Underground Railroad, with particular focus on Cincinnati, Louisville, and various parts of southern Indiana. However, most of these works have overlooked the important role that Kentuckians of both races have played in the Underground Railroad. Perhaps this omission can be explained by the lack of available sources on the activities in the Bluegrass State. Nevertheless, the goal of this presentation is to solve this dilemma by discussing how one can meticulously research the history, development and impact of the Underground Railroad in Kentucky. More specifically, I will illustrate the process of looking for sources from the Internet, libraries, bibliographies and databases to show that clearly Kentucky was an important part of the Underground Railroad.