TROY, N.Y.-- Local residents celebrated a new interpretation of an old story on Friday night, as many learned more about the Underground Railroad at the start of a three day conference at Russell Sage College in Troy.
The Underground Railroad, a pathway to freedom for slaves, will be recognized the entire weekend as residents learn more about just what it was, who was involved, and how far it reached.
For a decade, a group of volunteers has convened the conference, sponsored by the Underground Railroad History Project of the Capital Region, and they say there is more to learn everyday, such as the history behind a building on Livingston Avenue in Albany.
"While they were there, it was the headquarters of the vigilance committee of the underground railroad," said Paul Stewart, of the Underground Railroad History Project.
The building, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, is more than just a common construction project. It is a home filled with history that was once inhabited by Stephen and Harriet Myers, and is being restored to what it looked like in the 1850's.
Flash forward 160 years, and the Underground Railroad is still on the minds of the crowd at the conference.
"Usually people have a postage stamp or a sound bite idea of what the underground railroad is, perhaps they think it's only all about Harriet Tubman or some other element of the story like that but it's so much richer, so much deeper," said Stewart.
The conference, now in its 10th year, is open to the public and draws teachers, students, and scholars to three days of presentations, speeches, art, and music exploring the history and significance of the Underground Railroad.
Saturday will include a host of workshops, and Sunday will highlight music, a family focused event in the afternoon, and folk music in the evening.
For more information or to sign up for the conference, click here.