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The "First City of Kansas" and the Underground Railroad


July 4, 2012


Network to Freedom

Kansas Regional Underground Railorad



The "First City of Kansas" and the Underground Railroad

Saturday, August 4, 9 am-3:00 pm

Riverfront Community & Convention Center

123 South Esplanade Street

Leavenworth, Kansas

Discussions of the Underground Railroad in Kansas rarely include Leavenworth. However, despite having a reputation as a pro-slavery town, the "first City of Kansas" was quite active. Located just across the river from the slave state of Missouri, Leavenworth became an important destination for enslaved people in search of freedom. It was upon arriving in the city that freedom seeker, Henry Clay Bruce, "felt himself a free man." The one-day conference will explore Leavenworth's and the surrounding area's role in the Underground Railroad and celebrate Leavenworth's first National Park Service, National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Listing, the Site of the Planters Hotel. In anticipation of the 2013 National Underground Railroad Conference, which will look at the Underground Railroad during the Civil War and in recognition of Leavenworth's important military history, the conference will also explore the Underground Railroad's military connections.

The keynote speaker will be Mark Christ of the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program and editor of Rugged and Sublime: The Civil War in Arkansas and "All Cut to Pieces and Gone to Hell": The Civil War, Race Relations, and the Battle of Poison Spring. His presentation entitled, "An eagle on his button and a musket on his shoulder": Black Regiments in Civil War Arkansas, will include discussion of the  1st Kansas USCT, which was recruited at Leavenworth. Following the event, there will also be an optional tour and dinner with performance by the Lecompton Reenactors.

Registration costs are as follows: $35 for conference (includes lunch); $15 Tour; and $25 dinner and performance. Registrations can be mailed to Kansas NTF 2012, P.O. Box 2551, Topeka, Kansas. Checks or Money Orders only. For registration form, please click here.

For participants wanting to stay overnight, there are a limited amount of rooms available at the InterContinental Hotel located on Fort Leavenworth at the conference rate of $65. To take advantage of this rate, you must make your reservations before Friday, July 20th by calling 913.684.4091. Make sure you mention that you are with the National Park Service.

Contact Person: Deanda Johnson

Contact Information: 402.661.1590 (main phone) / deanda_johnson@nps.gov