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15 02, 2017

Grand opening events happening March 10-12

A weekend of events will help celebrate the grand opening of the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center in and around Cambridge, Maryland. The new visitor center opens to the public on March 11.

FAQs about the grand opening.

• Download a PDF with info on the shuttles, events, and maps showing their locations.

• For Tubman-related events during the rest of the year, see our 2017 Tubman Events Roundup.

• Check out the recent media coverage about the new Tubman Visitor Center.

FRIDAY, MARCH 10, 2017
Rarely Seen Artifacts at Bucktown Village Store

A site along the Harriet Tubman Byway that’s usually open by appointment only, Bucktown Village Store will be open all day on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Visitors will get a personal tour of the general store from the 1800s from members of the Meredith family, the fifth generation to live in Bucktown, who will discuss Tubman, the store, and life in the 19th century. Visitors will also have a rare opportunity to view Underground Railroad artifacts owned by the family, including the runaway ad for “Minty” (later known as Harriet Tubman). Questions? Call 410-901-9255.
Time: 10am-4pm
Location: Bucktown Village Store, 4303 Bucktown Rd., Cambridge, MD 21613

Harriet: A Community Conversation

One-woman presentation of the life of Harriet Tubman by Diana Y (Thompson), Cambridge, MD, native and Columbia University oral history fellow. Reception and conversation to follow. Free will offering.
Time: 6:30pm
Location: Christ Episcopal Church, Church and High Sts., Cambridge, MD.

There’s a Message in the Music: Celebrating the Life of Harriet Tubman

In celebration of the life of Harriet Tubman, the Art Bar at Liv Again hosts Jazzy Blu on March 10 at 7:30pm. Doors open at 6pm. An evening of food, dance, and entertainment on the eve of the grand opening of the new Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center, about 20 minutes away. $20 per person. Buy advance tickets.
Time: 7:30-11pm
Location: The Art Bar, 317 High St., Cambridge, MD 21613

SATURDAY, MARCH 11, 2017
FREE SHUTTLE!

FREE SHUTTLE! Because of the large crowds expected and because parking at the Tubman Visitor Center is limited, there will be free shuttles running  on both Saturday, March 11 and Sunday, March 12 from downtown Cambridge to the Tubman Visitor Center (about a 20-minute drive). The shuttles will run from 10am to 4pm with the last shuttle leaving Cambridge at 3pm. The shuttles will leave from and return to the parking lot across from the City Hall building at 410 Academy Street in Cambridge, MD. Parking is free. Shuttles will leave about every 15 minutes. On Saturday only, here will be an additional shuttle between the Tubman Visitor Center and Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, which is hosting the Eagle Festival on March 11.

 

Grand Opening Events at Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center

Free events including Harriet Tubman re-enactor, creative writing workshop, book signing, talk by the center’s architect, children’s activities, and more. At the center in Church Creek, MD. Browse the full schedule. The Eagle Festival is also happening the same day about a mile away at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge.
Time: 9am-5pm
Location: Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center, 4068 Golden Hill Rd, Church Creek, MD 21622

Community Prayer Breakfast

In honor of the grand opening of the Tubman Visitor Center, there will be a Community Prayer Breakfast in Cambridge, Maryland, about 20 minutes from the new center, on Saturday, March 11. The event includes a morning message and musical tribute by Grammy Award-winning Bishop Marvin Winans. Also performing will be vocalist Ayanna Gregory, daughter of comedian and activist Dick Gregory. The master of ceremonies will be news reporter Sam Ford of ABC7/WJLA-TV. There will also be a book signing with author Carole Boston-Weatherford, author of Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom.
Time: 9am to 12pm
Location: Refuge Temple Church of God, Hattie L. Stanley Dream Center, 800 Robbins St., Cambridge, MD
Tickets: $30 per person. Buy tickets online or in person at the Dorchester County Visitor Center, 2 Rose Hill Pl., Cambridge, MD.

Rarely Seen Artifacts at Bucktown Village Store

A site along the Harriet Tubman Byway that’s usually open by appointment only, Bucktown Village Store will be open all day on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Visitors will get a personal tour of the general store from the 1800s from members of the Meredith family, the fifth generation to live in Bucktown, who will discuss Tubman, the store, and life in the 19th century. Visitors will also have a rare opportunity to view Underground Railroad artifacts owned by the family, including the runaway ad for “Minty” (later known as Harriet Tubman). Questions? Call 410-901-9255.
Time: 10am-4pm
Location: Bucktown Village Store, 4303 Bucktown Rd., Cambridge, MD 21613

Linchester Mill Open

A site along the Harriet Tubman Byway usually open by appointment only this time of year, the historic Linchester Mill will be open from 10am to 4pm on Saturday.
Time: 10am-4pm
Location: Linchester Mill, 3390 Linchester Rd, Preston, MD 21655

Museum of Rural Life Underground Railroad Exhibit

The Museum of Rural Life features Underground Railroad Exhibits. Located near the Caroline Courthouse, a site along the Tubman Byway, the museum will be open extended hours for grand opening weekend.
Time: 11am-4pm
Location: Museum of Rural Life, 16 N. 2nd St, Denton, MD 21629

Praying and Singing Band

The Singing and Praying Band of Delaware and Maryland will perform and give a documentary on the history and ties of Harriet Tubman to the south Dorchester County area on Saturday, March 11 at 1pm at New Revived United Methodist Church in Taylors Island, Maryland. The group belongs to an African American devotional/musical tradition unique to the Delmarva region. The church where they will perform is a site along the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway, a 125-mile self-guided driving tour. New Revived was established in 1876 as an African-American church. Free will offering.
Time: 1pm
Location: New Revived United Methodist Church, 4350 Smithville Rd, Taylors Island, MD 21669

View from the Lighthouse: The Underground Railroad

Visit the Choptank River Lighthouse at Long Wharf on the waterfront in Cambridge and soak in commanding views of the historic Choptank River while hearing a presentation on this topic by Jim Duffy, the award-winning author of Eastern Shore Road Trips and the forthcoming Tubman Travel Companion. Duffy’s talk will encompass stories on a broad array of Underground Railroad topics linked to the area right around the Lighthouse, from Harriet Tubman’s family roots to the first escape she ever engineered, and much more. The Lighthouse is ordinarily closed this time of year. In addition to being open for the presentation, the Lighthouse will be open from 11am to 5pm on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, March 10-12. Admission is free. Donations are appreciated. The program is presented by the Cambridge Lighthouse Foundation. Information: ChoptankLighthouse@gmail.com; 410-463-2635.
Time: Presentation at 2:30pm; Lighthouse open for visits 10am-5pm
Location: Choptank River Lighthouse, High and Water Streets, Cambridge, MD 21613

Harriet Tubman Banquet

This annual dinner celebrates the life of Harriet Tubman. Sponsored by the Harriet Tubman Organization. This year’s theme is “Harriet Ross Tubman is Home, we Thank You – Part III.” Cost is $40 per person. At Minnette Dick Hall, Cambridge, MD. For information or tickets, call 410-228-0401 or email hariettubman@verizon.net.
Time: 2:45pm
Location: Minnette Dick Hall at St. Mary’s Church, 2002 Hambrooks Blvd, Cambridge, MD 21613

Greg Hatza and ORGANization: Celebrate Harriet Tubman

In celebration of the opening of the Tubman Visitor Center, this accomplished quartet will play traditional jazz, blues, pop and more. Find out more about the quartet at greghatza.com. Advance tickets cost $20; $25 at the door (if not sold out). Buy tickets.
Time: 7-10pm
Location: Art Bar at Liv Again, 317 High St., Second Floor, Cambridge, MD 21613

Walking Tour of the Tilly Escape

The Seaford Museum presents a walking tour about Tubman’s “Tilly Escape” through Seaford starting at the museum. The group will walk down to the town dock and then “walk in the footsteps of Harriet Tubman,” up the hill to Gateway Park where Harriet Tubman spent the night at the Hotel and was almost captured.
Time: 3pm
Location: Seaford Museum, 203 High St., Seaford, DE 19973

Harriet Tubman Day in Delaware

In celebration of Harriet Tubman Day and the grand opening of the Tubman Visitor Center in Maryland, the Underground Railroad Coalition of Delaware plans commemorative programming:

  • Last Stop to Freedom: Wilmington’s Enduring Role in the Underground Railroad and Harriet Tubman’s Legacy. 11am-12:30pm; Wilmington Friends Meeting House, 401 N. West St., Wilmington, DE. Read more.
  • The Underground Railroad in Delaware. Hands-on activities and living history. 11am to 3pm, Delaware Historical Society, 504 N. Market St., Wilmington. DE. Read more.
  • Thomas Garrett and his Role in the History of Delaware Slavery. March 11 at 11am and 1pm and March 12 at 2pm, New Castle Court House Museum, 211 Delaware St., New Castle, DE.  Read more.

To find out more about the Tubman Byway in Delaware, visit tubmanbywaydelaware.org.

SUNDAY, MARCH 12, 2017
Grand Opening Events at Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center

Free events including Harriet Tubman re-enactor, creative writing workshop, book signing, talk by the center’s architect, children’s activities, and more. At the center in Church Creek, MD. Browse the full schedule.
Time: 9am-5pm
Location: Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center, 4068 Golden Hill Rd, Church Creek, MD 21622

Rarely Seen Artifacts at Bucktown Village Store

A site along the Harriet Tubman Byway that’s usually open by appointment only, Bucktown Village Store will be open all day on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Visitors will get a personal tour of the general store from the 1800s from members of the Meredith family, the fifth generation to live in Bucktown, who will discuss Tubman, the store, and life in the 19th century. Visitors will also have a rare opportunity to view Underground Railroad artifacts owned by the family, including the runaway ad for “Minty” (later known as Harriet Tubman). Questions? Call 410-901-9255.
Time: 10am-4pm
Location: Bucktown Village Store, 4303 Bucktown Rd., Cambridge, MD 21613

View from the Lighthouse: The Underground Railroad

Visit the Choptank River Lighthouse at Long Wharf on the waterfront in Cambridge and soak in commanding views of the historic Choptank River while hearing a presentation on this topic by Jim Duffy, the award-winning author of Eastern Shore Road Trips and the forthcoming Tubman Travel Companion. Duffy’s talk will encompass stories on a broad array of Underground Railroad topics linked to the area right around the Lighthouse, from Harriet Tubman’s family roots to the first escape she ever engineered, and much more. The Lighthouse is ordinarily closed this time of year. In addition to being open for the presentation, the Lighthouse will be open from 11am to 5pm on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, March 10-12. Admission is free. Donations are appreciated. The program is presented by the Cambridge Lighthouse Foundation. Information: ChoptankLighthouse@gmail.com; 410-463-2635.
Time: Presentation at 11am; Lighthouse open for visits 10am-5pm
Location: Choptank River Lighthouse, High and Water Streets, Cambridge, MD 21613

23 01, 2017

The View North at the Tubman Visitor Center

This story is written by guest blogger Jim Duffy. A long-time professional writer and Harriet Tubman enthusiast, Jim is the power behind Secrets of the Eastern Shore, a website,  online store, and Facebook page in which he shares stories, photos, and products that celebrate the Eastern Shore. He recently published Eastern Shore Road Trips; 27 One-Day Adventures on Delmarva.

Chris Elcock first visited the future site of the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitors Center in July of 2008. He’d come across the bridge from Baltimore that day in order to help decide whether his firm, GWWO Architects, would throw its hat in the ring when it came time to design the facility.

Now slated to open in March of 2017, the center is the latest in a flurry of projects honoring the heroine of the Underground Railroad, who was born and spent her early years on the Eastern Shore. The relatively new Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway covers some 35 stops and 125 miles of Dorchester and Caroline counties. The federal government plans to put Tubman’s image on the next redesign of the $20 bill. And there is another new park in the works in upstate New York, where Tubman spent her later years.

The visitors center here will be a state facility developed in partnership with the National Park Service. Its 17-acre site brushes up against Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in South Dorchester County, a smidge south of where Route 335 meets up with Key Wallace Drive.

The scene that greeted Elcock on his first visit amounted to a rather typical stretch of Eastern Shore marshland. Grasses swayed in the foreground. Off in the distance were stands of trees, glimpses of waterways, and patches of corn and other farm crops. Eagles and osprey soared overhead. Bugs were abundant. The only structure on the site back then was an old farmhouse, and it was slated for demolition.

A woman standing near him surveyed the scene and said, in tone of dismay, “There’s nothing here.”

Elcock had a different take on the scene. He was looking out over a landscape chock full of stories, drama, and meaning. In his mind’s eye, he could see slaves on the run, making their way through distant trees along the Underground Railroad. He could see others, too, the ones who decided to stay put, as they worked in nearby fields.

He tried to imagine the details of their lives, to get a sense for what might have been in their hearts and heads. What fears, hopes, doubts, and misgivings did they harbor while trying to decide whether to stay or make a run for it? “When she said that, it was all I could do to keep quiet,” Elcock says.

He is no longer feeling that need to be quiet. Not only did GWWO win the job, the firm put Elcock in charge of the 12-member team that designed the Tubman Underground Railroad Visitors Center. On a recent Saturday afternoon, Elcock showed off that design for an enthusiastic crowd of about 50 people gathered in an exhibit room at the future center.

“This is a short woman—she is five-foot-nothing, and she weighs a hundred-and-nothing. She has epilepsy—this is the story of a woman with a disability, too. And she is illiterate. And she is a slave. But she made a change in the world, didn’t she?”

The first step in the design process, Elcock explained, involved his team drawing up an array of possible plans for the overall site. The winning plan has the title “The View North,” because of the way it has visitors entering at the site’s southern edge and then making their way into the story of the Underground Railroad along a cone-shaped route that will open up gradually as they move through the facility to the north, toward freedom.

“If you really commit to the story you’re telling, it ends up driving all of your decisions,” Elcock said.

On first glance, the visitors center has a modest profile. Approaching on Route 335, visitors will see a run of four barn-like shapes that are built on a scale and in a style that fits in pretty well with the buildings on nearby farms. One of those shapes is dotted with rectangular windows arrayed in an intriguingly random pattern. Elcock explained that the light from those windows will illuminate an exhibit area inside devoted to Tubman’s spirituality.

The three large exhibit areas that make up the interior of the center were mostly empty on the day of Elcock’s presentation. He explained how those exhibits, which are currently being fabricated, will be set up in a series of “stations” laid out in a fashion that reinforces the cone-shaped message on the grounds outside. Visitors will start out in relatively tight quarters on the south end of the space and then find more and more breathing room and natural light as they move northward and get deeper into the exhibits.

In some places, overhead lights are set on the ceiling in a random pattern, so as to evoke the stars in the night sky that many slaves on the run used to find their way north. Eventually, of course, visitors will need to turn around in the space and head back south, but Elcock pointed out how even this ends up echoing Tubman’s story, given the way she decided to return time and again into the danger zone in order to help loved ones make their journey to freedom.

On the grounds outside the exhibit halls, there will be an expansive “memorial garden” that loops around the northern end of the visitors center site. That is one section of the center that will develop slowly over the course of time, with elements of the landscape design taking full shape only as growing seasons come and go.

Elcock said he envisions a similar transformation involving the zinc panels that cover much of the exterior of the exhibit building. “Zinc will dull over time,” he explained. “It will take on something that is like a healing patina. What we hope, of course, is that that’s just what happens over time to attitudes in this country about slavery and race.”

All of the architects involved in the project spent countless hours engrossed in the various books that have been written about Tubman and the Underground Railroad. That part of the experience, Elcock said, left them all in awe of the woman who the new center will be trying to honor.

“This is a short woman—she is five-foot-nothing, and she weighs a hundred-and-nothing” he said. “She has epilepsy—this is the story of a woman with a disability, too. And she is illiterate. And she is a slave. But she made a change in the world, didn’t she?”

–writing and research by Jim Duffy, Secrets of the Eastern Shore

23 01, 2017

Tubman Visitor Center opens March 11

The new Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center opens to the public on Saturday, March 11, with grand opening events planned for March 11 and 12 and throughout the year.
Harriet Tubman, who grew up in slavery in Dorchester County, lived, worked, and worshipped in places near the visitor center. It’s from this area that she first escaped slavery, and where she returned about 13 times over a decade, risking her life time and again to lead some 70 friends and family members to freedom. To carry out the dangerous missions, she used the Underground Railroad, a secret network of places and people.

Located near Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, the visitor center includes an exhibit hall with thought-provoking multimedia exhibits, a theater, and gift shop. The visitor center is on the grounds of a 17-acre state park. The visitor center is a joint operation between the Maryland Park Service and the National Park Service.

March 11 (Saturday) and March 12 (Sunday) marks the official opening to the public and will be two full days of activities with a performance by National Park Service Centennial Poet Laureate Dr. Sonia Sanchez followed by a writing workshop; choir concert with local community churches and nearby university choirs, Junior Ranger activities, performances by Millicent Sparks (Harriet Tubman living historian); interpretive presentations from the senior architect about “The View North” design concept of the Visitor Center; scholars providing Harriet Tubman lectures, ongoing tours of the Visitor Center exhibit and landscape and much more.

The visitor center is one of more than 30 sites of historical significance along the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway, a 125-mile self-guided driving tour on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Order a free Tubman Byway Map & Guide or download the free Audio Guide.

7 12, 2016

1. Dorchester County Visitor Center

1. Dorchester County Visitor Center

Information and Orientation for the Journey

Overlooking the Choptank River, the Dorchester County Visitor Center is the perfect place to begin your byway adventure. Inside the center, an exhibit provides background information on Harriet Tubman and Underground Railroad activity in the area. Knowledgeable staff can assist you in planning your tour and will provide information on events, accommodations, dining opportunities, shopping, and outdoor experiences.

In 1608, English Captain John Smith met Native Americans here when he explored the Chesapeake Bay. As the colony flourished, so did demand for cheap labor. In 1664, the General Assembly codified a system of slavery that for 200 years supported an economy based on the labor of enslaved workers. In time, Dorchester’s proximity to free states made it a hotbed of Underground Railroad activity, until emancipation came to Maryland slaves at the end of the Civil War in 1864.

Please visit the Dorchester County Office of Tourism’s website at VisitDorchester.org to learn how to make the most of your time while in Dorchester County, including information on local lodging, dining, events, history, shopping and more.

Information

Address

2 Rose Hill Place
Cambridge, MD 21613
Open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
410-228-1000
www.VisitDorchester.org

GPS Coordinates: 38.570851,-76.064363

Practical info
  • Restrooms
  • Maps
  • Exhibits
  • Playground

Helpful Links

For Your Journey
Nearby Lodging
Nearby Dining
Explore The Area
PDF Map & Driving Guide

7 12, 2016

2. Harriet Tubman Memorial Garden

2. Harriet Tubman Memorial Garden

Honoring Harriet Tubman

Relatives of Harriet Ross Tubman still live in Dorchester County as do descendants of the enslaved and slave holders. Members of the local community chose to honor Tubman at this quiet roadside garden. People across the country can join them in paying their respects to this American hero.

Tubman’s story, that of a young slave who freed herself, then returned to rescue family and friends, inspires emotional and artistic expression in works of literature, music, sculpture, paint, and performance. One of Tubman’s relatives, Charles Ross, painted the murals here. Exterior exhibits describe her life and Underground Railroad activities in the area. The Memorial Garden is located adjacent to Route 50 East, near a variety of accommodations and services.

Information

Address

U.S. 50 at Washington Street, Cambridge MD 21613
Open daily, dawn to dusk

Practical info
  • Small parking lot on site

Helpful Links

For Your Journey
Nearby Lodging
Nearby Dining
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PDF Map & Driving Guide

7 12, 2016

3. Dorchester County Courthouse

3. Dorchester County Courthouse

Challenging Slavery

In 1850, Harriet Tubman’s niece, Kessiah, and her two children escaped from the auction block at the front of the courthouse. On the day of the auction, Kessiah and her children stood before buyers when the bidding started. Kessiah’s husband, John Bowley, a free black ship carpenter, outbid everyone. When an official appeared to collect payment, no one came forward. Kessiah and her children were missing. John had secretly whisked them away and transported them by boat to Baltimore, where Harriet met them and led them to Philadelphia.

The original courthouse from this auction scene burned in 1852. This Italianate building, constructed in 1854, stood at the center of Cambridge’s political and economic life. Many records from the slavery era survived the courthouse fire, and are now part of the research collections at the Maryland State Archives in Annapolis.

Several significant incidents occurred at this site during the height of the Underground Railroad. In 1857, Samuel Green, a free black farmer, Methodist preacher and Underground Railroad agent, drew national attention when he was tried here and sentenced to 10 years in prison for owning a copy of the anti-slavery novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

In 1858, Hugh Hazlett, an Irish laborer and Underground Railroad conductor, was captured and brought by boat to be imprisoned here. He escaped, was recaptured and later sentenced to 44 years for assisting fugitive slaves.

Information

Address

206 High Street
Cambridge, MD 21613

GPS Coordinates: 38.571992,-76.076497

Practical info
  • Network to Freedom Program site
  • Street parking only
  • Wayside exhibit
  • Shopping nearby
  • Restaurants nearby

Helpful Links

For Your Journey
Nearby Lodging
Nearby Dining
Explore The Area
PDF Map & Driving Guide

7 12, 2016

4. Long Wharf

4. Long Wharf

Portal to Slavery – Gateway to Freedom

In the 18th century, when people, goods and information traveled by water, Cambridge was a regional center for the slave trade. Ships from Africa and the West Indies brought kidnapped Africans and sold them along this waterfront until the trans-Atlantic slave trade was outlawed in 1808. Soon, southern states began cultivating cotton, increasing their need for enslaved labor. About the same time, wheat prices plummeted causing a surge in the sales of enslaved people from the Eastern Shore. Thousands of them were eventually shipped from this wharf to plantations in the Deep South, never to see their homes or families again.

Information

Address

GPS Coordinates: 38.575108,-76.072447

Practical info
  • Parking lot
  • Farmers Market
    May-October, Thursdays, 3-6pm
  • Cambridge Historic Walking Tour
    April-October, Saturdays, 11am
  • Skipjack Sails
    May-October, Saturdays
  • Restaurants nearby

 

Helpful Links

For Your Journey
Nearby Lodging
Nearby Dining
Explore The Area
PDF Map & Driving Guide

7 12, 2016

5. Harriet Tubman Museum and Educational Center

5. Harriet Tubman Museum and Educational Center

Keeping the Flame Alive

The Harriet Tubman Museum & Educational Center is one of the oldest community organizations dedicated to the memory of Harriet Tubman. Over the past three decades, their efforts have included memorials to Tubman, tours to significant sites associated with her life, museum exhibits, educational programming, celebrations and community outreach.

Founded in the mid-1980s, the Harriet Tubman Organization is dedicated to preserving Tubman’s connection to the local community and to helping young people see Tubman as a role model. The museum hosts numerous programs throughout the year, including an annual memorial banquet in March. The organization’s members have inspired community action and encouraged interpretation and research into Harriet’s life and legacy. Inside the museum, visitors will find exhibits and resources. Volunteer members of the organization answer questions and provide information on Harriet Tubman and the region. Step-on guided tours of area sites associated with Harriet Tubman are available by appointment. The museum has a gift shop and literature about area attractions.

NOTE: This museum is different than the new Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center, which opened in March 2017 in Church Creek, Maryland, about 20 minutes from downtown Cambridge. Find out more about the new Tubman Visitor Center.

Information

Address

424 Race Street
Cambridge, MD 21613-1836
410-228-0401
www.harriettubmanorganization.org

GPS Coordinates: 38.569293,-76.076925

Open Tuesday-Friday, 12-3pm; Saturday 12-4pm

Practical info
  • Street parking only
  • Shopping nearby
  • Restaurants nearby

Helpful Links

For Your Journey
Nearby Lodging
Nearby Dining
Explore The Area
PDF Map & Driving Guide

7 12, 2016

6. Stanley Institute

6. Stanley Institute

School of Determination

During a three week period in October 1857, 44 enslaved people in two large groups successfully escaped from farms near here and in Cambridge. Five families – the Vineys, Anthonys, Cornishes, Ambys, and Hills –- carried 20 children with them. Heavily armed, the freedom seekers were determined to avoid capture by bounty hunters. Almost caught near Wilmington, Delaware, the freedom seekers reached Philadelphia and then Canada with the help of black and white Underground Railroad agents.

National newspapers called the escapes a “Stampede of Slaves.” Sadly, some of these self-liberators were forced to leave loved ones behind. The story of the Underground Railroad is not always one of triumph and liberty, but rather, it is also the story of the people who could not or would not leave, and those who were left behind.

Before the Civil War, it was a crime to teach a slave to read, and there were few opportunities to learn. In 1867, this oneroom schoolhouse was moved here. The Rock School, now called the Stanley Institute, is an early example of a post-Civil War African-American school built and run independently by the local black community. It stands as a testament to the black community’s determination to educate their children in a segregated school system. This school was used until the 1960s. The Christ Rock Church, across the street, was built in 1875.

Information

Address

MD Route 16, Cambridge, MD 21613
410-228-6657

GPS Coordinates: 38.545048,-76.102735

Practical info
  • Limited parking on grounds
  • Additional parking across street
  • Gas nearby

Helpful Links

For Your Journey
Nearby Lodging
Nearby Dining
Explore The Area
PDF Map & Driving Guide

7 12, 2016

7. Church Creek

7. Church Creek

Crosscurrents of Slavery and Freedom

Church Creek was a thriving shipbuilding center on the waterfront during the 1830s. Workers in the maritime trades – shipwrights, caulkers, sail makers and blacksmiths – labored and mingled at the wharves with highly mobile, free black sailors. These “Black Jacks” were part of a secret communication network that spanned not only coastal American towns, but also across the Atlantic. They brought news, ideas, and information to enslaved communities, spreading notions of liberty and equality, as well as gossip. Sometimes they provided a means to escape. In the early 19th century, a large community of enslaved and free black families lived and worked between here, Harrisville and White Marsh Roads.

Church Creek sits along Route 16, which follows an ancient pre-colonial Indian trail used for seasonal migrations and trade between the Chesapeake and Delaware bays. “The great majority of enslaved people who fled this county before the Civil War came from places along this road, which begins in Taylors Island to the west and continues northeast through Cambridge. The freedom seekers followed the direction of this route and headed into Caroline County, Maryland and onto Delaware.” Access to information and escapes via vessels likely secured this route’s reputation as a “Highway to Freedom.”

Information

Address

GPS Coordinates: 38.501579,-76.152396

Practical info
  • Parking

Helpful Links

For Your Journey
Nearby Lodging
Nearby Dining
Explore The Area
PDF Map & Driving Guide

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