The Moses of Ripley

National Underground Railroad. Freedom Center

Today we went to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. It is well worth a visit. We’ll have to go back a second day next trip to take it all in.

Standing on the banks of the Ohio River, the unknowing can appreciate the power and majesty of the river, but there is so much more. I am in awe of the the significance of river, which seperates Ohio (was a free state) from Kentucky (was a slave state). Crossing this river meant freedom to countless enslaved people. Here is the poem, Eliza Crossing the River by Harriet Beecher Stowe. Many of us read Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe and learned that most conductors on the underground railroad were White. Today we leaned that more often than not, it was Black folk, both free and enslaved, who risked their lives helping people to freedom. While many Quakers did settle in Southern Ohio and many White people of all faiths did help freedom seekers, this is not the whole story. Today we learned about John Parker, a formerly enslaved person, who helped hundreds of people cross the Ohio River. You can read more about John Parker here. The Freedom Center featured an excellent dramatization of the work of John Parker and Rev. John Rankin in a film called “Brothers of the Borderland”.

And a final thought very relevant to today:

That is all.

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