September is International Underground Railroad Month

Map of the Underground Railroad, NPS

In Spring 2021, U.S. National Park Service’s National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom staff requested that US/ICOMOS partner with them to expand the context of the Underground Railroad to an international scope. Our Emerging Professional Network (EPN) agreed to assist. EPN member Kaitlin Paecklar, with assistance from President Douglas Comer, EPN Chair Zoe Leung and staff, are currently overseeing US/ICOMOS’s efforts to:

  • Promote and celebrate International Underground Railroad Month in September 2021,
  • Expand the U.S. National Park Service’s National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Mapping Project to include international sites outside the United States, and
  • Engage international partners in the initiative.

US/ICOMOS thanks the U.S. National Park Service’s National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program for reaching out to document the international context of the Underground Railroad and take note of its inclusion on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) Sites of Memory designations. Click on the links to learn more about the Underground Railroad, the Network to Freedom, and the U.S. Underground Railroad Mapping Project.

We Need Your Assistance

US/ICOMOS seeks to collect, connect, and share information and stories about Freedom Seekers who self-liberated, the places where they settled, and the stories of their self liberation. If you know of sites and/or stories of self liberation outside the United States, please contribute!

How to share your story:

Step 1:    GeoForm

  1. Click on the link or the QR Code
  2. Fill out the form

Please provide information about the significance by writing about one of the following topics:

  • Experiences enslaved people faced on their journey to freedom
  • How enslaved populations impacted broader history
  • Why is it important to tell these stories?
  1. Click Submit

Step 2:    StoryMap

  1. A representative from US/ICOMOS will contact you to request help with translating your story into English and/or the language of your country and, if necessary, for more information.
  2. The U.S. National Park Service’s National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program will feature one example telling the story of enslaved people, or communities, including a picture. An approximate location such as city and state of where the community/ person lived or settled should be provided to give context for this international movement.

We will share the final map when it is complete. Thank you for sharing this request widely and for your contribution!

To learn more about this initiative and the US/ICOMOS EPN, please visit our EPN page.

Image: NPS Map of the Underground Railroad displaying routes enslaved Americans followed to freedom.

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