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Conference Schedule

2017 Harriet Tubman and Underground Railroad Conference Schedule


2017 National Underground Railroad Conference Schedule
On the Edge of Freedom:  Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad in the Borderlands
Host hotel:  Comfort Inn, Cambridge, Maryland
Dates:  May 18-21, 2017

Download conference schedule 

Thursday, May 18

Workshops to be held at Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center
$25 for one; $35 for two (morning and afternoon ) lunch included
10:00-12:00 pm                 Workshop 1:  An Interactive Workshop on Poetic Imagination and History BRIEF EVIDENCE OF HEAVEN:  POEMS FROM THE LIFE OF ANNA MURRAY DOUGLASS
                                                Michelle Keita
                                                Workshop 2:  How to Interpret Slavery Workshop
                                                Akua Anansesemfo
1:00-3:00 pm                      Workshop 3:  Tubman and the New Freedom
                                                Lacresha Berry
                                                Workshop 4:  Bridging Past to Present:  The Borderland Community of Niagara Falls During the Underground Railroad
                                                Ally Spongr, Sara Capen, Marci Ross
Field Session/Tour:  “In the Eastern Shore of Maryland, Dorchester County is where I was born.”
11:00 am to 4:00 pm  $40

Stops:  Stanley Institute, Malone Church, New Revived United Methodist Church, Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center
Other sites:  Church Creek, Woolford, Jacob Jackson Site, Stewart’s Canal, Blackwater River, Brodess Farm, Bucktown Village Store

Visit the land of Harriet Tubman’s birth, where she spent her formative years and visit the newly opened Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center.  Tubman biographer Kate Larson will lead this tour to explore the communities important to Harriet Tubman’s early life on the Eastern Shore.  View the landscape where Tubman worked, learning outdoor skills from her father Ben Ross, and where she returned to rescue family and friends.  Learn about the complex social environment of this region and the relationship between enslaved and free blacks.  Tour includes lunch.

2:00-5:30 pm                      Conference registration and Exhibit Hall set-up
6:30-8:30 pm                      Opening reception, Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center
Friday, May 19
8:00-5:30 pm                      Conference registration
8:00-5:00 pm                      Exhibit Hall
8:00-9:00 am                      Continental breakfast
9:00-9:15 am                      Opening Session  (Dignitaries, Welcomes)
9:15-10:15 am                    Plenary Panel:  WGN’s Underground
Creators Misha Green and Joe Pokaski; Harriet Tubman actress Aisha Hinds
10:30-12:00 pm                 Concurrent Session 1:  Creators of the Underground Railroad, 1835-1865
Moderator:  Chris Bonner
  1. Graham Hodges, Harriet Tubman in Cape May, New Jersey:  The Formative Years
  2. Kate Masur, African American Spies in the Maryland-Virginia Borderland during the Civil War
  3. Philip Troutman, Chronicles of Kidnapping in New York:  Elizur Wright at the Borderlands of Slavery
  4. Commentator:  Chris Bonner
Concurrent Session 2:  “Eastern shore of Maryland Dorchester County is where I was born”:  Harriet Tubman’s Maryland
                                        Moderator:  Maya Davis                                              
H. Eliot Foulds and Jennifer Hanna, Piecing and Patchwork: Deciphering the Jacob Jackson Landscape
Phillip Hesser, "Somewhat in the Condition of Freemen": Hiring Out and
Harriet Tubman's Borderlands of Freedom
Kate Larson, The Tangible and Intangible Borderland Geographies of Harriet Tubman's Life on the Eastern Shore of Maryland
12:15-1:15 pm                    Lunch
1:30 – 2:45 pm                Networking/Discussion groups 
Modern, International Perspectives on Harriet Tubman
Lisbeth Gronlund and Kimerly Cornish
Literature and the Underground Railroad
Barbara Lockhart and Jacqueline Wood
Churches and Schools in the Freedom Struggle in Maryland
Kalila Barrett-Gaines and Franklin Robinson
Freedom Seekers and Changes in Time and Space
Larry McClellan and Cheryl LaRoche
3:00 – 4:30 pm                   Concurrent session 3:  Trade, Travel, and Commerce in the South-Central
                                                Pennsylvania Underground Railroad
                                                Moderator:  Gail Tomlinson
Darlene Colon, Lydia Hamilton Smith
Kelly Summerford, William C. Goodridge
Concurrent Session 4:  History on the Borderlands:  Harriet Tubman and Popular Culture
                                        Moderator:  Deanda Johnson
Janell Hobson, Cultural Currency and the “Value” of Harriet TubmanKristen Oertel, Is Harriet Tubman Funny?  History and Pop Culture Humor
Aisha Hinds
Concurrent Session 5:  Forging Freedom on the Unwelcoming Landscapes of Slavery’s Borderlands
Moderator:  Rosemary Sadlier
Valerie Martin, Racial Slavery and Gendered Power in Early Quebec Newspapers:  Fugitive, Slave, and Slave Sale Notices in the St. Lawrence Valley
Marcus P. Nevius, “By whom liberated or born free?”:  Slave Hire and Petit Marronage in Southside Virginia during the Antebellum Era
Gordon S. Barker, To Migrate or Sojourn North of Slavery?:  Responding to Limited Black Freedom on Erie’s Faraway Shore
6:30 - 8:30 pm                    Banquet (Dorchester Arts Center)
                                                Performance:  Marcus Shelby
                                                Master of Ceremonies:  Robert G. Stanton

Saturday, May 20
7:30 am                           Conference registration
7:30 am – 4:30 pm            Exhibit Hall
7:30 – 8:30 am                 Continental Breakfast
8:30 - 10:00 am               Concurrent Session 6:  Freedom on My Mind:  The Psychological Burden
                                       of Slavery
                                      Moderator:  Leigh Ryan
Kathryn Benjamin Golden, Forging Freedom: Flight, Violence, Community, and Autonomy in the Great Dismal Swamp
Jeanne Pirtle, The Borderlands of Fear
Beryl Hunter, Constructing an Ideal:  Resistance and Expediency in the Lower Mississippi Delta
Concurrent Session 7:  Enslavement and Freedom on International
Moderator:  Bronwen Sounders
Lorraine McConaghy, Free Boy:  Charles Mitchell and the Puget Sound “Underground Railroad”
Meredith Hardy, Engaging the Present by Uncovering the Past—Community Archeology and the Legacy of Enslavement, Resistance, and Emancipation at Christiansted National Historic Site, St. Croix, Virgin Islands
Concurrent session 8:  On the Edge of Freedom: African American Abolitionist Activists
                                        Moderator:  Nikki Taylor
Mary Liz Stewart, Stephen Myers on the Borderland of Activism
Dean Herrin, Crossing the Line to Freedom:  The Story of Basil Dorsey
Michele Sullivan, African American Abolitionists in Southern Chester County, Pennsylvania
10:15 – 11:45 am             Concurrent Session 9:  The Promises and Risks of the Borderlands
                                       Moderator:  Shelley Stokes-Hammond
David McBride, Runaways, Contrabands or Both?  Activities and Implications of Contraband Camps and Settlements to the Underground Railroad
Deanda Johnson, Slave Stampedes:  A Borderland Phenomenon
Bridget Striker, Rising Sun and Rabbit Hash:  A Tale of  Two Diametrically Opposed Sister Communities on the Ohio River Borderlands
Concurrent Session 10:  Liberation and the Law: Slavery and Freedom
                              Moderator:  Kalila Barrett-Gaines
Gloria Ann Whittico, “A Mere Gratuity”: Legal Doctrine, Liberation, and the Law of Manumission in Maryland
Margo Williams, Miles Lassiter:  Straddling the Lines Between Slave and Free, Black and White
Terrence Franklin, The Last Will of Lucy Sutton:  One Family’s Legal Odyssey from Slavery to Freedom
                                       Concurrent Session 11:  Kidnapped!
                                       Moderator:  Terry Neild
Iris Barnes, Sacrificing Margaret Morgan:  Slavery and Freedom through the lens of Prigg v Pennsylvania, a Pivotal Reverse Underground Railroad Event
Milt Diggins, Slave Catching and Kidnapping in the Borderlands
Robin Krawitz, The Remarkable Story of Aaron Cooper:  Understanding the Landscape of Kidnapping in Delaware through a Suit for Freedom Filed in Natchez, Mississippi
12:00 – 1:00 pm               Lunch
1:15 pm -2:15 pm             Keynote Address:  Manisha Sinha
                                        The Underground Railroad in the Making of American Abolition
2:30 – 4:00 pm                 Concurrent Session 12:  Movement to Freedom: Migration, Networking, and
                                        Moderator:  Diane Miller
Deborah Lee, Underground Railroad Migration from the Middle Potomac Region of Virginia and Maryland
Jesse Olsavasky, “We are all Bound Together”:  Women, Vigilance Committees, and the Making of Abolitionism without Borders, 1835-1859
Katherine Delavan, Ohio Borderlands:  The Abolitionist Network from the Ohio River to Lake Erie
                                       Concurrent Session 13:  The Promise of Canada?: The Reality of Freedom
                                        Moderator:  Richard Dana
Deidre McCorkindale, “It is not a British Feeling”:  Anti-Black Racism in Kent County
Donna King, Freedom in America:  Myth or Reality in Canada?
Veta Tucker, Blacks Navigating Freedom in the Detroit River Borderland
                                        Concurrent session 14:  In it Together: UGRR Networks at Work
                                        Moderator:  Deirdre Sinnott
Don Papson, Tracking Harriet Tubman’s Network from Maryland to Canada West
Michael Boston, Platt H. Skinner, Abolitionist and Teacher of Deaf, Blind and Mute Black Children
4:15 – 5:00 pm                EXPRESSIONS OF THE AMERICAN CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT, Yesterday, Today

                                       Panelists:  Dion Banks and William Jarmon
Sunday, May 21
7:30 -8:00 am                     Conference tour registration and check-in
Field Session/Tour:  “In the Eastern Shore of Maryland, Dorchester County is where I was born.”
8:30 to 5:00 pm; $50

Stops:  Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Dover Green, Delaware Old State House  
Other Sites:  Faith Community United Methodist Church, Jacob and Hannah Leverton House, Linchester Mill, Jonestown, Samuel D. Burris marker

Isolated from the mainland for centuries, the Delmarva Peninsula (containing Delaware and the Eastern Shores of Maryland and Virginia) constitutes a distinctive region with a strong southern culture.  Explore this Upper South region and learn about slavery and freedom in the borderlands.  This tour will follow the Harriet Tubman byway into Caroline County, Maryland, and Delaware, highlighting the story of the Dover Eight who used information from Harriet Tubman in their dramatic escape. In the Poplar Neck area, learn the story of the African American community of which Harriet Tubman’s parents, Ben and Rit Ross were a part and the nearby Quaker community.  Have lunch in Denton, Maryland

The Delaware portion of the tour will include the “Tales of Slavery and Freedom Walking Tour” on the Dover Green where participants will learn about Delaware’s complicated positions regarding freedom and slavery, and its role as a border state during the Civil War. Learn the story of the brave group of freedom seekers known as the Dover Eight and their daring escape from the Dover Jail. Hear about famous African-American Richard Allen and his connections to the Golden Fleece Tavern.  In the Old State House, the “Courage and Freedom Tour” will focus on three compelling stories of courageous Delawareans whose fight for freedom and equality began at the Old State House, including Samuel D. Burris.