They left during the middle of the night—often carrying little more than the knowledge that moss grows on the north side of trees. An estimated 100,000 slaves between 1830 and the end of the Civil War in 1865 chose to embark on this journey in search of freedom. They moved in constant fear of being killed or recaptured, returned, and beaten as an example of what would happen to others who might choose to run. Under the cover of darkness, “fugitives” traveled roughly twenty miles each night traversing rugged terrain while enduring all the hardships that Mother Nature could bring to bear. Occasionally, they were guided from one secret, safe location to the next by an ever-changing, clandestine group known as the Underground Railroad. Many consider the Underground Railroad to be the first great freedom movement in the Americas and the first time when people of different races and faiths worked together in harmony for freedom and justice.
Photographer Jeanine Michna-Bales has spent more than a decade meticulously researching “fugitive” slaves and the ways they escaped to freedom. While the unnumbered routes of the Underground Railroad encompassed countless square miles, the path Michna-Bales documented encompasses roughly 2,000 miles and is based off of actual sites, cities, and places that freedom-seekers passed through during their journey.
This exhibition features beautifully dramatic color photographs, ephemera, and narratives that together tell the story of the Underground Railroad. The exhibit will be on display through August 10.
This exhibition was organized by ExhibitsUSA, a program of Mid-America Arts Alliance.
Library programs, events, and classes are photographed or videotaped for promotional purposes or to document library activities. Notify library staff if you prefer not to be photographed.
Los programas de la biblioteca, eventos y clases son fotografiados o filmados con fines promocionales o para documentar las actividades de la biblioteca. Notificar al personal de la biblioteca si prefiere no ser fotografiado.