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Contact: Adam Prato, (319) 643-7855
The “National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom” traveling exhibit is on display in the visitor center at Herbert Hoover National Historic Site until the end of February 2007. The Underground Railroad—the resistance to enslavement through escape and flight, through the end of the Civil War—refers to the efforts of enslaved African Americans to gain their freedom. Wherever slavery existed, there were efforts to escape, at first to maroon communities in rugged terrain away from settled areas; later across state and international borders. The National Park Service commemorates and preserves this history through the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program (www.cr.nps.gov/ugrr). The program extols the historical significance of the Underground Railroad in the eradication of slavery.
Iowans were involved in the national resistance to slavery. Parts of the Underground Railroad ran through Iowa, including numerous sites in Cedar County. John Brown, the radical abolitionist, visited Cedar County on several occasions between 1856 and 1858 to recruit and train volunteers for the 1859 raid on the federal arsenal in Harpers Ferry, Virginia.
Children visiting the exhibit can become Junior Rangers and earn Junior Ranger badges by completing the Underground Railroad Junior Ranger activity booklet.
Herbert Hoover National Historic Site and the Hoover Presidential Library and Museum are off I-80 at exit 254 in West Branch, Iowa. Both are open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central Time.