by Craig Layne
The National Park Service’s National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom has accepted the House Divided Project at Dickinson College as one of its newest listings. The House Divided Project explores stories of the American Civil War and efforts to end slavery. The Network to Freedom’s more than 700 sites, facilities and programs provide insight into the diverse experiences of freedom seekers who bravely escaped slavery and the allies who assisted them.
“We're excited to join the prestigious Network to Freedom,” says House Divided Director Matthew Pinsker. “We began partnering with the National Park Service almost a decade ago on various programs about the Underground Railroad and the resistance to slavery. In particular, we have worked hard to make this vital national story more accessible to K-12 and undergraduate classrooms. This recognition during the 25th anniversary of the Network to Freedom is truly the culmination of years of contributions from dozens of Dickinson students, staff and faculty.”
“Each addition to the Underground Railroad Network to Freedom centers on a story of hope in the face of hostility and oppression," says Diane Miller, the organization's program manager. “And it continues to document and expand knowledge related to the Underground Railroad and increase public awareness of the struggle for freedom and equality endured by so many in our country's history.”
The House Divided Project’s inclusion in the Network to Freedom comes as it explores additional perspectives in the struggle against slavery. Recently, the project unveiled its Underground Railroad Online Handbook, a website providing a companion to the forthcoming National Park Service handbook on the Underground Railroad, including full-text access to the scholarly essays. Pinsker served as editor to the handbook. Additionally, the project is expanding its website exploring so called “slave stampedes” to include information on Kentucky. This site tells the stories of large groups of Black freedom seekers moving together toward liberation.
The House Divided Project began in 2005, focusing on slavery and the Underground Railroad in the 19th century. Using 21st century technology, faculty, students and staff have partnered with the National Park Service and the Network to Freedom on digital projects and other initiatives. In addition, the House Divided Project has a dedicated exhibition space on campus that tells the story of freedom seekers and the enslaved. They also incorporate workshops for K-12 teachers on slavery and the Underground Railroad.
The National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom serves to honor, preserve and promote the history of resistance to enslavement through escape and flight, which continues to inspire people worldwide. The network currently represents more than 700 locations in 39 states, plus Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Through its mission, the Network to Freedom helps to advance the idea that all human beings embrace the right to self-determination and freedom from oppression.
Published August 8, 2023