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.



MD Route 16, Cambridge, MD 21613

GPS Coordinates: 38.545048,-76.102735

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

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