Given the illegal nature of its operations, sites of the Underground Railroad across the United State were often hidden and secret. That necessity now presents a challenge to preservationists dedicated to identifying, preserving, and interpreting these important histories where they happened. Speakers for this session include Dr. Kate Clifford Larson, author and historian, and Heather Ersts, Outreach & Partnership Coordinator for the Maryland Department of Tourism Development.
Thursday, September 10, 2020, 1PM-2PM
National Underground Railroad Month
The Network to Freedom (NTF) program of the National Park Service promotes innovative scholarship, interpretation, and partnerships for sharing the history and legacy of the Underground Railroad. The Network consists of rigorously researched and documented sites with connections to the Underground Railroad, and programs and facilities with research, educational or interpretive resources related to the Underground Railroad in addition to some financial support. For many places that may be associated with the Underground Railroad, documentation and interpretation can be difficult, particularly when uncovering the complex and difficult stories of the enslaved.
Speakers for the session include Dr. Kate Clifford Larson, author of Bound for the Promised Land, an award-winning biography of Harriet Tubman and who has written more than twenty successful Network to Freedom site nominations. Kate will help illuminate research resources and impart how sites can separate lore from fact from fiction. Heather Ersts of the Maryland Department of Tourism, who is working to strengthen the interpretation offerings at historic destinations that tell the authentic story of African American life, will highlight existing sites in the Network to Freedom that exemplify high-quality and authentic heritage tourism experiences, including new digital experiences.
The goal of this session is to provide an overview of research resources and pitfalls related to uncovering difficult history, especially related to the Underground Railroad. With accurate research and accurate interpretation, Maryland will continue to solidify itself as a destination for history seekers and heritage travelers. Moreover, those persons enslaved in Maryland and those abolitionists along the Underground Railroad deserve a full and true account of their harrowing – and heroic experiences.
Dr. Kate Clifford Larson is a bestselling author of three critically acclaimed biographies including Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman, Portrait of an American. She has consulted on feature film scripts – most recently Focus Features’ Harriet – documentaries, museum exhibits, animation and augmented reality productions, print and digital publications, and public history initiatives including Maryland’s Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State and National Historical Park, the award-winning Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway and All-American Road, and the Harriet Tubman Home and National Park in Auburn, NY. Dr. Larson has completed more than twenty successful NPS Network to Freedom applications.
Attendees are encouraged to join the webinar with questions and comments, and to make use of the Q&A and chat features of the presentation. This session is one of several that Preservation Maryland will be hosting in Summer and Fall 2020, as we bring our Old Line State Summit to an all-online format. Where available, presentations, and recordings of the webinar will be made available.
This free webinar is one of several free workshops that Preservation Maryland will be hosting and offering instead of an in-person Old Line State Summit this year. To get updates about future events, please sign up for our email list and follow us on social media.