Department of Tourism
Underground Railroad Conference at Georgetown Sept. 10-15
GEORGETOWN, Ky. – The Underground Railroad, the network of anti-slavery activists and sites that helped enslaved African Americans escape the South and the Caribbean prior to emancipation, will be the focus of a conference at Georgetown College Sept. 10-15, 2007.
The inaugural conference of the Friends of the Network to Freedom Association is expected to attract several hundred participants and is sponsored by the Underground Railroad Research Institute at Georgetown, which was established in 2001 to promote education and cultural understanding among students, communities and the nation. The theme of the conference is “Looking Back, Moving Forward.”
The conference will feature bus tours of Kentucky Underground Railroad sites and locales associated with Abraham Lincoln in Kentucky, speeches by prominent African American scholars and activists, performances of African American music and dance, and panel discussions dealing with Underground Railroad issues of contemporary and historic interest, said Alicestyne Adams, the UGRRI’s director.
“We’re encouraging participation by teachers, students and history buffs, as well as professional scholars,” Adams said.
Participants can attend the entire conference or individual events. Registration for the entire conference, except for the bus trips, is $85 per person. A discount is available to attendees who join the Friends of the Network to Freedom Association, Adams said. The group is associated with the National Park Service’s National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program.
Anyone can attend an individual panel session or luncheon for $15, Adams said. Four free performances will take place in the Exhibit Hall of the College’s Recreation Center on Friday Sept. 14.
The fee for the two all-day bus tours is $25 each per person; lunch is not included in the fee.
Charles Ogletree, a Harvard Law School professor and executive director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice, will be the conference’s keynote speaker at a 7 p.m. session in John L. Hill Chapel following a 5 p.m. picnic-on-the-grounds Thursday Sept. 13. The fee for this program is $25.
The luncheon presentation on Thursday features Emma Bush performing a Chautauqua on Margaret Garner, a famous fugitive slave law test case, for which admission is $15. Stephen Marc, a nationally prominent photographer whose work focuses on the African Diaspora, will be the featured speaker at Friday’s luncheon, for which admission is $15.
Robert George Stanton, who became the first African American director of the National Park Service in 1988, will moderate the Thursday session on “Celebrating Freedom” at 7 p.m. Admission to this and other panel sessions is $15 each.
For more information on the conference, visit the UGRRI’s web site at www.ugrri.org or call 502-863-2203.
The Kentucky Department of Tourism, an agency of the Kentucky Commerce Cabinet, exists to promote The Commonwealth as a travel destination, generate revenue and create jobs for Kentucky’s economy.