Through Darkness to Light: Photographs Along the Underground Railroad

Look for the Grey Barn Out Back, Station with a Tunnel Leading to Another Conductor’s House, 2013, courtesy the artist

Learn the story of the Underground Railroad.

They left during the middle of the night—often carrying little more than the knowledge that moss grows on the north side of trees. An estimated 100,000 slaves between 1830 and the end of the Civil War in 1865 chose to embark on this journey in search of freedom. They moved in constant fear of being killed or recaptured, returned, and beaten as an example of what would happen to others who might choose to run. Under the cover of darkness, “fugitives” traveled roughly twenty miles each night traversing rugged terrain while enduring all the hardships that Mother Nature could bring to bear. Occasionally, they were guided from one secret, safe location to the next by an ever-changing, clandestine group known as the Underground Railroad. Many consider the Underground Railroad to be the first great freedom movement in the Americas and the first time when people of different races and faiths worked together in harmony for freedom and justice.

See the exhibit at West Wyandotte Library June 15 – August 10


Quindaro History with NedRa Bonds

6:30 pm, June 23, West & Virtual

Kansas City, Kansas fiber artist NedRa Bonds will discuss the history of the Quindaro Township and neighborhood. One of her best-known works is her Quindaro Quilt which illustrates the history of Old Quindaro and its role in the Underground Railroad.

Righteousness and Mammon: Quindaro in Bleeding Kansas and the Civil War

7:00 pm, July 7th, Virtual

Join us for a virtual presentation by Dr. Nicole Etcheson on the history of the Quindaro Township. She will discuss the town’s role in Bleeding Kansas and the Civil War. Dr. Etcheson is a professor at Ball State and the author of Bleeding Kansas: Contested Liberty in the Civil War Era.

Books and MovieS
The Underground Railroad

Learn more about the Underground Railroad with this list of items available at the library.

Quindaro Symposium

The Quindaro Symposium was held April 19-21, 2018, to contribute to the process of designating the ruins of Quindaro as a National Historic Landmark.

Kansas History Magazine Quindaro Issue

Includes a diverse collection of provocative essays from the 2018 symposium that probes the town’s meanings to its varied inhabitants and beyond.

Quindaro History

The KCKPL Kansas Room page discusses the history of Qundaro, including some photos and other items from the collection.

Quindaro Oral Histories

These interviews were conducted by volunteers and staff for Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area and the Kansas City, Kansas Public Library.

NPS List of Underground Railroad Sites

The National Park Service State by state listing of Underground Railroad sites.

Underground Railroad & Slavery Experience

Historian Anthony Cohen describes retracing one of the routes of the Underground Railroad by personally walking it on foot.

Journey to Freedom

The National Park Service site includes resources, an interactive map, information about historic sites, and more.

PBS List of Underground Railroad Sites

A list of historic sites, museums, libraries, parks, and monuments from PBS.

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

A museum that features information about heroes of the Underground Railroad, history, and other resources.

Secret Messages Found in U.S. Slave Songs

Jim Thomas has spent much of his life researching the codes and secret messages of spirituals in context.

The Many Myths of Slaves and the Underground Railroads

A short video that debunks folklore and myth surrounding the history of the Underground Railroad.

Fugitive Slave Acts

Describe the federal laws that allowed the capture and return of freedom seekers within the territory of the United States.

Secrets and Codes of the Underground Railroad

A short introduction to the Underground Railroad and stories/legends about communication tools.

Follow the Drinking Gourd: A Cultural History

An interpretation of the lyrics and examination of what is fact and fiction.

Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936 to 1938

The Library of Congress has more than 2,300 first-person accounts of slavery and 500 black-and-white photographs of formerly enslaved persons.

North American Slave Narratives

The University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill website documenting the American South that features North American slave narratives in book or article form.

Abolitionist Movement

The History Channel website with general information about the abolitionist movement.

The African-American Mosaic: Abolition

The Library of Congress materials related to the abolitionist movement, including anti-slavery publications, minutes from an early anti-slavery meeting, advertisements, and more.

Abolitionism in America

Cornell University Library resources about the origins of abolitionism, slave narratives, and excerpts from prominent abolitionists and their strategies.

The 13th Amendment

The Library of Congress website covering the 13th Amendment, which made slavery illegal.