UGRR

FOCUS ON THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD (UGRR)

The Muncy Historical Society and members of the Historical Organizations of Lycoming County (HOLC) are partnering to provide the following events and activities that focus on the Underground Railroad. Program support is made possible in part through donations and grants from the Lycoming County Visitors Bureau, the PA Council on the Arts, PA Humanities Council, the Lycoming Mall and private donors. 

For 2014, a significant number of our collaborative programs will focus on the Underground Railroad: Blacks risking their lives for freedom and whites risking their liberty to shelter escaping slaves; many people making major sacrifices for strangers; an organized network of whites and blacks who offered assistance to runaways, in the way of shelter, food, clothing, jobs, and transport to another “station” on their way to freedom.

What was the UGRR?

UGRRF_1The UGRR was a secret way to escape slavery and get to freedom. It was a network of secret hiding places that included “safe houses” where “station masters” would provide slaves with shelter and food until they could safely move on. “Conductors” helped runaway slaves get from one “station” to the next.

Why did slaves run away? 

There were many reasons – slaves wanted to be free and escaped from their masters to travel to a place where slavery was banned or illegal. Many ran away to avoid being sold and having their family members separated from one another. Other fugitive slaves wanted to escape harsh punishments by their owners or long hours of forced labor.

Where did slaves go?

Many went to northern states including Pennsylvania and Massachusetts until the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was passed. Under this Act federal law required the return of slaves to their owners even if they were captured in a state that outlawed slavery.  To be free fugitive slaves had to leave the country and seek asylum in Canada or Mexico.

UNDER THE NIGHT SKY – HALF THE PARK IS AFTER DARK
Saturday, April 12, 2014, 8 p.m.
Night Sky Location: Muncy Heritage Park & Nature Trail, 601 Pepper Street, Muncy
Free Admission (Rain or Shine); Pre-registration required by calling 570-546-5917 

UGRRF_2Life for a runaway was full of hazards. A journey to freedom meant traveling by night, using the North Star as a guide and trying to avoid search parties. In addition to the North Star, aka the “drinking gourd,” the night sky is filled with stars and constellations that were very important to the conductors and voyagers along the UGRR. Since most travelling was done under the cover of night, stars and other celestial objects were used as guides to direct slaves north. The park is the ideal location to explore the night sky outdoors while imagining how to navigate by recognizing these astronomical guides.

Join us for a brief Astronomy 101 presentation at the Educational Pavilion before looking at the sky through one of the telescopes brought to the Park for this special evening. All young participants will receive a “Glow in the Dark Star Finder” so they can continue their night sky exploration on their own. While waiting for a turn on a telescope venture over to the grill area – hot dogs and hot chocolate will be for sale.

Chris Della Piazza, who has been an amateur astronomer and astrophotographer since 1992, will lead this evening program. He operates a private observatory from his backyard in Muncy and specializes in deep sky imaging of galaxies.

THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD IN QUILTS
Cassandra Stancil Gunkel, PA Humanities Council, Commonwealth Speaker
Sunday, May 18, 2014, 2:00 p.m.
Location: Community Room, First United Methodist Church, 602 S. Market Street, Muncy
Free Admission

UGRRF_3The Underground Railroad, the secret paths traveled by African Americans who escaped slavery in the South, is well documented by historians. Far more elusive is evidence that slaves used quilts as signals to guide their way to freedom. This hands-on talk and demonstration engages in the ongoing debate between historians and the public —did quilts guide escapes? Authentic 19th century quilts and modern reproductions are used to explore some of the ways in which women may have stitched their politics, history and mythology into quilt designs.

A folklorist who specializes in fiber arts, Cassandra Gunkel has studied African American quilts and textiles to document the lives of women who captured their histories and stories in their creative work.

Cassandra Gunkel’s family sewed and quilted for African American communities in coastal North Carolina and Virginia for generations. To continue that work, Gunkel researches and teaches cultural traditions, fiber arts and Pennsylvania history. She also travels with a collection of historic and reproduction quilts that showcase the many ways that women kept track of their lives and experiences with needle and thread. She has exhibited numerous times and has organized quilt exhibitions around southeastern Pennsylvania. Gunkel lives in Bucks County and holds a PhD in Folklore and Folklife from the University of Pennsylvania.

15TH ANNUAL “MUNCY CUP” GOLF TOURNAMENT
Saturday, June 7, 2014, 8:30 a.m., Two-Person Scramble
Location: Wynding Brook Golf Course, 201 Harveys Lane, Milton
Pre-registration required – call 570-546-5917 for registration form

  • New Format, New Location
  • $1,500 in Cash Prizes
  • On-Course Contests – Straightest, Longest Drives, Closest to Pin
  • Door Prizes, 50/50, Goodie Bag and more
  • Hole-in-One & Putting Contests

UNDER THE NIGHT SKY – HALF THE PARK IS AFTER DARK
Saturday, July 5, 2014, 9 p.m.
Night Sky Location: Muncy Heritage Park & Nature Trail, 601 Pepper Street, Muncy
Free Admission (Rain or Shine); Pre-registration required by calling 570-546-5917

Life for a runaway was full of hazards. A journey to freedom meant traveling  by night, using the North Star as a guide and trying to avoid search parties. In addition to the North Star, aka the “drinking gourd,” the night sky is filled with stars and constellations that were very important to the conductors and voyagers along the UGRR. Since most travelling was done under the cover of night, stars and other celestial objects were used as guides to direct slaves north. The park is the ideal location to explore the night sky outdoors while imagining how to navigate by recognizing these astronomical guides.

Join us for a brief Astronomy 101 presentation at the Educational Pavilion before looking at the sky through one of the telescopes brought to the Park for this special evening. All young participants will receive a “Glow in the Dark Star Finder” so they can continue their night sky exploration on their own. While waiting for a turn on a telescope venture over to the grill area – hot dogs and hot chocolate will be for sale.

Chris Della Piazza, who has been an amateur astronomer and astrophotographer since 1992, will lead this evening program. He operates a private observatory from his backyard in Muncy and specializes in deep sky imaging of galaxies.

10th ANNUAL QUILT SHOW,CHALLENGE, & SCAVENGER HUNT
Friday, July 18, 2014, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Saturday, July 19, 2014, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Location: Ward L. Myers Elementary School, 125 New Street, Muncy
Expanded Hours, Air-conditioned facility, convenient parking

UGRRF_4This year we will celebrate the tenth anniversary of our annual quilt show so we have chosen “anniversary” as our 2014 challenge theme. Tin, aluminum and diamonds are the perfect gifts for a 10th wedding anniversary and challenge entrants might have chosen one, two or all three of these for their “challenge” inspiration.

To celebrate our anniversary we will accessorize the show with wedding gowns from the Muncy Historical Society’s extensive collection. The gowns will be highlighted and exhibited throughout the Show, making this a very unique opportunity to view antique, vintage and contemporary gowns alongside our always very diverse quilt exhibition.

In keeping with our 2014 focus on the UGRR, quilters will have the opportunity to participate in a Scavenger Hunt that will take them to several locations in the Muncy community for answers and to be rewarded with a free quilt block or two. For those who complete the Hunt, their completed passport will be entered into the Grand Prize drawing.

QUILTER’S RUMMAGE SALE
Saturday, July 19, 2014, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.
Location: Muncy Historical Society, 40 N. Main Street, Muncy

UGRRF_5Our third annual Quilter’s Rummage Sale will feature a wide variety of material (being sold by the pound) plus books, kits, quilter tools and other quilt-related paraphernalia. Judith Cole Youngman’s two books, the Amadeus notecards and the Society’s historic patterns will also be available.

LYCOMING LILY WORKSHOP
Saturday, July 19, 2014, 9 a.m.-Noon
Location: Muncy Historical Society, 40 N. Main Street, Muncy

This year’s workshop will be both educational and hands-on. For this workshop, Judith Cole Youngman will introduce a pattern of her own design, the Lycoming Lily, and she will help attendees plan their own quilt. The workshop fee is $20. Class size is limited and pre-registration is required. Registration forms are available by calling 570-546-5917.

SEARCHING FOR THE LIFE OF HARRIET HEMINGS
Catherine Kerrison, PA Humanities Council, Commonwealth Speaker
Saturday, August 2, 2014, 1 p.m.
Location: Lycoming County Historical Society, 858 W. 4th Street, Williamsport
Co-Sponsored by the Lycoming County Genealogical Society & Lycoming County Historical Society
Free Admission 

Sometime in 1822 Harriet Hemings (the second of Sally Hemings’ children) left Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, boarded a stagecoach to Philadelphia and all but disappeared. Fifty years later, her brother Madison Hemings talked of Harriet passing as white. Her identity as a fugitive slave was never discovered in her lifetime. This presentation follows her childhood, weighs her apparent choices and documents the detective work to locate a woman determined to disappear from the historical record. It uses images to imagine her life at Monticello and later in Philadelphia and Washington. This exploration of Jefferson’s families—both white and black—tells a larger story of gender, race and citizenship.

Catherine Kerrison teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in Colonial and Revolutionary America, American Women’s History, the History of Sexuality in America, Race and Gender at Monticello, and Historical Methodology at Villanova University. She has served as the Academic Director for Gender and Women’s Studies. Kerrison holds a PhD from The College of William and Mary.

UNDER THE NIGHT SKY – HALF THE PARK IS AFTER DARK
Friday, August 15, 2014, 7 p.m.; Rain Date: Saturday, August 16, 2014, 7 p.m.
Location: Muncy Heritage Park & Nature Trail, 601 Pepper Street, Muncy
Free Admission

Join us for an introduction to the cultural and historic heritage of the Park with interpreters at the observation platform, the locktender’s façade/well site, the river overlook, the cargo boat pavilion, the packet boat and the Last Raft model at the Education Pavilion. “The Last Raft” documentary will be shown at dusk. Attendees should bring their own lawn chairs, blankets, bug spray and flashlights. Hot dogs, bottled water, soda and popcorn will be for sale.

“PASSAGE TO FREEDOM: SECRETS OF THE UGRR RAILROAD”
A Traveling Exhibit from the Welland Historical Museum, Welland, Ontario, Canada
September 1 – 30, 2014, Mondays through Saturdays, noon to 8 p.m.; Sundays, noon to 4 p.m.
(Special appointments for student/tour groups…contact Linda Poulton, 570-546-5502)
UGRR Exhibit Location: Lycoming Mall Storefront, 300 Lycoming Mall Circle, Pennsdale/Muncy
Free Admission

UGRRF_6“Passage to Freedom” is an exhibit that provides an opportunity to travel back to the 1800s to learn about slavery, the escape route called the Underground Railroad, and the challenges freedom seekers faced if they finally reached the “Promised Land” of Canada. In the 1850s approximately 40,000 Black refugees entered Canada from the United States, helped by such famous “conductors” as Harriet Tubman. The traveling exhibit features slave narratives; models of a slave cabin, a plantation, a safe house and transport slave bunks; interactive components; and clues to the secrets about fleeing to freedom. The exhibit is divided into three parts: 1) Slavery: stories of capture and life as a slave; 2) Escape: illustrations and narratives about the dangers of escape; signs, codes and symbols used; the messages in spiritual songs; the importance of the stars; the inventive escape methods including a box like the one used by Henry “Box” Brown to mail himself to freedom; and 3) Freedom: stories from former slaves and their descendants who found both freedom and prosperity in Canada, and those who found discrimination, racism, and even lynching in Canada.

The Exhibit consists of 22 exhibit panels, exhibit cases, a cabin diorama, games, audio and interactive components, reproduction artifacts, props, world and star maps, and a ship slave bunk exhibit.

UGRRF_7In addition to the Welland Traveling Exhibit, there will be a display of quilt patterns often attributed to playing some kind of role in the Underground Railroad movement. Historians, frustrated by myths that will not die, have found that the best they can do is to offer an alternative, accurate history about these patterns – one that allows people to choose which “history” to accept. Were quilts hung on clotheslines to signal escaping slaves of a “safe house?” Were quilts used as maps to show escapees the route to safety? Were quilts used by runaways as a code to communicate the timing of escape? Many of the patterns supposedly used as code did not exist before the Civil War when the majority of fugitive slaves were making their way to freedom. There are first-person accounts that support the use of whistles, songs and lanterns to assist slaves on the run but no such accounts of using quilts for that purpose. To date, while there is no historical evidence of quilts being used as signals, codes or maps, who knows if and when such historical evidence may be uncovered?

This exhibit will offer a “local” perspective to us in Northcentral Pennsylvania. Many of these freedom seekers were offered assistance and sheltered here, at first mainly by our local large Quaker community, and then by people, both whites and free and escaped blacks, who were motivated by religion and moral beliefs.

8th ANNUAL ARTISTS’ EXHIBITION AND SALE
Friday, November 7, 2014, 5:30 p.m.-9 p.m.; Saturday, November 8, 2014, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Location: Muncy Township Social Hall, Muncy/Pennsdale 

UGRRF_8Friday night’s opening includes a reception with complimentary refreshments, an opportunity to meet and greet the artists, and music by members of the Williamsport Symphony Orchestra.

The show will feature some of the most talented artists in Pennsylvania whose works are exhibited and collected nationally; many share a close relationship with Lycoming County and the surrounding area. It includes a wide range of arts and craftsmanship, including photography, oil painting, jewelry, fashion, pottery, metal- and wood-working, quilting, mosaics, watercolor, sculpture, and home décor. The show will be a rich and varied collection of original work along with signed and numbered limited-edition reproductions.

2013 artists included in the Show were Michael Coppes, Tammy Daneker, John DeWald, Linda Doucette, Steve Getz, Selinda Kennedy, Laura Knorr, Judy Kolb, Robert Olmstead, Deb Parsons, Daniel Ravizza, Kris Robbins, Mark Robbins, David Seybold, Roger Shipley, Theresa Crowley Spitler, Deb Fleck-Stabley, Kathy Turner Sterngold, Bruce Storm, Nella Godbey Storm, Christine Washad, Terry Wild, Wynn Yarrow and Judith Cole Youngman. As an invitational show, the artists’ roster changes from year to year.

“The Society’s art show committee wants to ensure that our guests can experience a well-rounded show that includes a wide range of artistic expression. We ask a panel of independent jurors to evaluate new applicants and to select from our stable of previously-juried, talented artisans those who will be asked to participate in the current year’s show. While each exhibition is different, a small number of our artists are core to the show. We are careful to offer a mix of traditional and contemporary styles and techniques from oil paintings to acrylics to mixed media and this year we have expanded our artistic categories to include decorative arrangements, locksmithing and blacksmithing, illustrated books, and floorcloths.” explains Linda Poulton, show coordinator. Diversity and excellent artistry remain paramount to the selection process.

Arts funding support has been provided by Gary’s Furniture, 3 Factory Street, Picture Rocks, state funding through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, an agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, and Thelma White. The Muncy Historical Society’s Artists Exhibition also benefits from the support of Lycoming County Visitors Bureau.

UGRR RESOURCES

WEBSITES

Timeline of Slavery and the Underground Railroad

http://www.safepassageohio.org/resources/Timeline.pdf

Background Information on the Underground Railroad for Teachers

http://geoalliance.asu.edu/azga/sites/default/files/LessonFiles/Halverson/UndergroundRR/HalversonUndergroundRRS.pdf

Lesson Plan — The Underground Railroad Teacher’s Guide

This teacher’s guide supports the Underground Railroad: Escape from Slavery online activity. Grades: 3–5, 6–8, 9–12

http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/lesson-plan/teacher-activity-guide-underground-railroad

Underground Railroad (for Kids)

http://www.ducksters.com/history/civil_war/underground_railroad.php

Did Quilts Hold Codes to the Underground Railroad?

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/02/0205_040205_slavequilts.html

National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom – A National Park Service site of general UGRR information

www.cr.nps.gov/ugrr/

Aboard the Underground Railroad – National Park Service site of Registry of Historic Places associated with the UGRR

www.cr.nps.gov/nr/travel/underground/ugrrhome.htm

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center – short biographies of abolitionists and UGRR workers

www.freedomcenter.org

National Geographic Interactive Game – interactive site to decide how to escape

www.nationalgeographic.com/features/99/railroad/

Africans in America: America’s Journey Through Slavery

www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/

The William Still Underground Railroad Foundation

www.undergroundrr.com

Slavery in America

www.slaveryinamerica.org

Documenting the American South

http://docsouth.unc.edu

American Civil War

www.americancivilwar.com

BOOKS

Carson, Mary Kay, The Underground Railroad: From Slavery to Freedom with 21 Activities, Chicago Review Press, Inc., 2005.

Levine, Ellen and Larry Johnson, If You Traveled on the Underground Railroad, a children’s book, Scholastic, Inc., 1993.

Still, William, The Underground Railroad, Benediction Classics, Oxford, 2008.

Kamma, Anne, If You Lived When There Was Slavery in America, a children’s book, Scholastic, Inc., 2006.

Moore, Kay, If You Lived at the Time of the Civil War, a children’s book, Scholastic, Inc., 2006.

DVDS

Underground Railroad: The William Still Story

The Abolitionists

Underground Railroad

Race to Freedom

Slavery by Another Name

Roots


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s