News Release

Pensacola Pass Recognized as Underground Railroad Site

Image of parking lot in Fort Pickens Area and home to current location of 1800s Pensacola Pass.
Current location of original 1800s Pensacola Pass. The location is in the Fort Pickens Area near the seawall facing southwest.

NPS/Doggrell

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News Release Date: September 30, 2021

Contact: Casimer Rosiecki

GULF BREEZE, Fla.—Pensacola Pass was accepted into the National Park Service’s National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program on September 29, 2021.

The National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom is a federal program that commemorates the stories of the men and women who risked everything for freedom and those who helped them. It honors, preserves, and promotes the history of resistance to enslavement through escape and flight worldwide.  

In the mid-1800s, Pensacola Pass formed part of a transportation route for freedom seekers sailing on the Underground Railroad. Freedom seekers sailed to destinations like the Bahamas, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire to gain freedom.   

The University of West Florida’s Archaeology Institute made mapping the location of Pensacola Pass possible. The mid-1800s location of the pass is in Gulf Islands National Seashore’s Fort Pickens Area.                                                                    

“Pensacola Pass forces us to rethink the history and memory of the Underground Railroad,” said Superintendent, Darrell Echols. “Driven by a desire to be free, enslaved people in Pensacola took to the sea to undermine slavery in the United States.”   

Pensacola Pass joins 18 new listings from the 42nd round of Network to Freedom applications in 11 states. It also joins Fort Pickens and the Fort Barrancas Area at Gulf Islands National Seashore on the federal list of Network to Freedom sites. 

About Gulf Islands National Seashore: Created in 1971, the national seashore stretches 160 miles along the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico in Florida and Mississippi, and includes barrier islands, maritime forests, historic forts, bayous, and marine habitat. Visit us at www.nps.gov/GulfIslands, on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram 

About the National Park Service: More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 423 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov, and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. 



Last updated: September 30, 2021

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