About the Network to Freedom

The official Underground Railroad Network to Freedom logo.

NPS Photo

The Network to Freedom’s mission is to honor, preserve and promote the history of resistance to enslavement through escape and flight. Underground Railroad History continues to inspire people worldwide. Through its mission, the Network to Freedom advances the idea that all human beings embrace the right to self-determination and freedom from oppression. The program is a catalyst for innovation and partnerships that share the diverse legacy of the Underground Railroad across generations.

The program works in collaboration with local, state and federal entities, as well as individuals and organizations to create a “network” of sites, facilities, and programs with a verifiable connection to the Underground Railroad.

  • Sites - Locations with a verifiable connection to the Underground Railroad. Sites are not limited to safehouses – but rather to any location connected to a freedom seeker’s journey.

  • Including but not limted to: court cases challenged issues of escape and flight; kidnapping sites; churches; Maroon communities, etc.

  • Programs - educational and interpretive programs that pertain to the Underground Railroad

  • Facilities - either research, educational or interpretive centers.

Together, sites, programs, and facilities are referred to as Network to Freedom Listings. The people that manage these sites, programs, and facilities are known as Network to Freedom Members.

Currently, the Network to Freedom consists of over 700 listings in 39 states, plus Washington D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Listing in the Network to Freedom has many benefits. These include:

  • Prestigious national recognition.
  • Verification that there is a documented association with the Underground Railroad.
  • Add to a national database of Underground Railroad history.
  • Encourages and supports local preservation efforts.
  • Provides opportunities for networking.
  • Provides eligibility for Network to Freedom grants.
  • Provides access to technical assistance.
  • Helps promote tourism and economic development.
  • Educates the public.
  • Provides eligibility for the National Park Service Passport Program.

The Network to Freedom provides technical assistance to those who are documenting, preserving, and telling the story of the Underground Railroad. Network to Freedom staff are available to discuss projects and provide information on resources for:  

  • Caring for artifacts,  

  • Developing interpretive tours and exhibits,  

  • Preserving historic buildings and landscapes,  

  • Heritage tourism initiatives,  

  •  Sources for grants.

  • Restrict use, alteration, treatment, transfer, sale or disposition of private property.  
  • Require that properties be maintained, repaired or restored.  

  • Require public access to private property. 

Learn More

Last updated: October 18, 2022