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Conference Schedule

2016 National Underground Railroad Conference Schedule

Into the light: Striving for Freedom and 'an equal chance in the Battle of Life'

Westin Hilton Head

2 Grasslawn Avenue

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina 29928


Monday, June 13

7:30-8:00 amConference tour registration and check-in

8:30-5:00 pmField Session:The Roots of Reconstruction and the Development of Community (Mitchelville, Penn Center)

2:00-5:30 pmConference registration and Exhibit Hall set-up

6:30-8:30 pmOpening reception


Tuesday, June 14

8:00-5:30 pmConference registration

8:00-6:30 pmExhibit Hall

8:00-9:00 amContinental breakfast

9:00-11:30 amOpening Plenary Session:

Remarks by Robert Stanton, former Director, National Park Service

Title: Dawn of Freedom: Mitchelville Then and Now



1.Lou Benfante,"Identifying the Residents of Mitchelville and the Members of the 21st USCT"

2.Ezra Callahan,"The People of Mitchelville Project and Native Islander Roots"

3.Edda Fields-Black, "Proving Ground for Freedom: The Civil War, Port Royal Experiment, and the Transformation of Gullah/Geechee Identity"

(Break from 10:15 –10:30)

The Legacy of Mitchelville 

Descendant:Giselle White Perry

11:45-12:45 pmLuncheon

1:00 –2:30 pm

Concurrent Session 1:Surviving in Place: Gullah Geechee Culture in the Transition

Moderator:J. Herman Blake 


1.Veronica Gerald, "We Made a Way out of No-Way"

2.Emory Campbell, "Learning to Be Gullah"

3.J. Herman Blake, "Gullah Geechee Culture:An Analytical Paradigm"

Concurrent Session 2:In Pursuit of Justice:Two Veterans Families and the Experience of Freedom



1.Leigh Ryan, "'Be all you seem to be, aim to be more than you seem to be':Chaplain Henry Vinton Plummer's Life in Freedom"

2.Robin Caudell, "House of Kellum Roll Call, Talbot County Maryland: A Cold War Vet Confronts Slavery and Freedom"

2:45-3:45 pmKeynote Address:to be announced

4:00 -5:30 pm

Concurrent Session 3:Stepping into the Light: Emancipation and Freedom at two South Carolina Plantations

Moderator:David Jones


1.Al Hester, "An 'Irrepressible Conflict': The Struggle for Freedom on the Santee Delta"

2.Stacey Young, "Archaeological Perspectives on Slavery and Freedom at Hampton Plantation"

3.Niki Ohlandt, "'Forty Acres and a Mule':Educating Students about Emancipation" 

Commentary by:Elizabeth Laney, "Stepping into the Light: Expressions of Freedom at Redcliffe Plantation:

Concurrent Session 4:Freedom Seekers by the Numbers:A Data-Based Profile of Maryland

Moderator:  Ryan Cox


1.Maya Davis, "'By Any Means Necessary:' Methods of Escape used by Maryland Freedom Seekers" 

2.Emily Huebner, "Faces of Freedom: The Demographics of Escape"

6:30 - 8:30 pmBanquet (program to be determined)

Wednesday, June 15

8:00 amConference registration

7:30 am –4:30 pmExhibit Hall

7:30 –8:30 amContinental Breakfast

8:30 - 10:00 am

Concurrent Session 5: Places of Freedom, Places of Refuge:Preserving and Interpreting Pre-Civil War African


Moderator:Déanda Johnson

1.Cheryl LaRoche, "Free Black Communities, the Underground Railroad and Archaeology"

2.Claire Fuller Martin, "Linking the Past to the Present: Preserving New Philadelphia"

3.Jon Amakawa, "Augmented Reality: Using Technology to Bring New Philadelphia Back to Life"

Concurrent Session 6:Dare to Resist: Individuals and the Power of Conviction



1.Kristin Oertel, "General Tubman: Harriet Tubman and the Combahee River Raid"

2.Velma Maia Thomas, "Don't Give Up the Land or the Vote! That Troublemaker Aaron Bradley"

3.Gordon S. Barker, "From Slave to Citizen: Anthony Burns's Journey from Antebellum Virginia to Canada West"

10:15 –11:45 am

Concurrent Session 7: "They Learn Very Fast":Education As A Tool of Empowerment



1.Robin Krawitz, "'I Ask No Other Reward . . Than to Feel I Have Been Of Service To My Fellow Men': The Underground Railroad and South Carolina Service of the Hunn Family of Delaware"

2.Dean Herrin and Lauren Hughes,'"They Learn Very Fast': Freedmen's Bureau Schools in the Upper South"

3.Bruce Purnell, "Finding My Eagle: The Actualization of Freedom for Descendants of Underground Railroad Activists"

Concurrent Session 8: Against the Odds:Independent Women Claiming Space in a White Man's World

Moderator:Déanda Johnson


1.Gloria Ann Whittico, "The Missouri Freedom Suits, Motherhood, and the Lengths and Limits of Justice"

2.Kimberly Lenahan, "Polly Bryant: Intersections of Race, Gender &'Hospitality'"

12:00 –1:00 pmLuncheon

1:15 pm -2:15 pmFour Corners:An Opportunity for Informal Networking Conversations

·Organizational Empowerment &Funding Strategies

·Preservation: Bricks and Mortar

·Telling the Story,Heritage Tourism

Developing the Underground Railroad and Harriet Tubman on the Land

oMarci Ross, Assistant Director for Tourism Development, Maryland

oDana Paterra, Park Manager, Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park, Maryland Park Service

oRobert Parker, Superintendent, Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument and Historical Park

·Telling the Story, Interpretation: Programs and Exhibits

2:30 - 3:30 pmKeynote:to be announced

3:45 - 5:15 pm

Concurrent Session 9: Uncovering History:Archeology, Interpretation, and Filling the Gaps in the Documentary Record



1.Eric Poplin, "Sharing the Past with the Public through CRM: An Example from A Freedmen's Community"

2.Scott Butler, "The Port Royal Experiment- Archaeological Investigations at Mitchelville (38BU2301)"

Concurrent Session 10: No Place Like Home:Living Freedom in African American Communities



1.Veta Tucker, "Living Freedom in Ramptown, A Unique Settlement of Free and Freedom Seeking African Americans in Pre and Post-Civil War Michigan"

2.Debra Robinson, "The Story of Solomon Day: From Southampton, Virginia, to Logan County, Ohio."

3.Rita Pratt, "Carmichael African Village, Bahamas"

7:00 pm –9:00 pmThe Underground Railroad in Popular Culture, a Discussion

Thursday, June 16

7:30 -8:00 amConference tour registration and check-in

8:00 –5:00 pmField Session:Land of Escapes, Freedom and Community:Savannah, Georgia