WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — Want to learn more about the history of 19th-century abolitionists and the underground railroad in the North Country? An upcoming webinar series will discuss just that.
The Tug Hill Commission will host a new historical three-part webinar series on the abolitionist movement in the region. The series will discuss how North Country landowners worked to free enslaved people by providing them a safe passage north, fighting for their legal rights, and offering them land to till.
According to the Commission, the North Country played an important role in this movement as it provided several sites on the Underground Railroad for rest and safety.
The Commission stated that “much of this history is hidden in archives and on the land itself.”
The three-part webinar series will kick off on May 2020 as experts present information on the Florence Settlement. The settlement is what is now the Florence Hill State Forest in Oneida County, but was previously part of 17,000 acres deeded to Irish and Black settlers by abolitionist Gerrit Smith. Research from archeological digs, archival searches, and more will be presented along with video clips of the site as it is today.
The second part of the series will be presented on June 10 with a presentation from the North Country Underground Historical Association. Underground Railroad routes, the reality and laws that consequently created them, and the people who both “built” it and used it to find freedom will be discussed.
Lastly, on June 24, Oneida County Freedom Trail Commission Underground Railroad research will be presented. The presentation will be led by Historian Judith Wellman, Jan DeAmicis, Mary Hayes Gordon, and Deirdre Sinnott and will provide an overview of their current survey of Underground Railroad sites. The panelists will also highlight important women on the Underground Railroad.
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More information on all webinars and additional workshops can be found on the Tug Hill Commission website.