Claiming Freedom in the Revolutionary Era: Partnerships

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The National Park Service is partnering with the National Endowment for the Humanities to support research, documentation, interpretation, education, and digital engagement connecting the public with the Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. This project leverages efforts underway to better understand freedom-seeking in the context of the American Revolution by engaging student interns at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the development of digital engagement strategies, interpretation, and educational resources that support formal and informal education about the African American struggle for freedom and civil rights. Freedom-seeking during the revolutionary era is a largely undocumented piece of the Underground Railroad story and the project will help the National Park Service and Network to Freedom illuminate a lesser-known story while contributing new narratives to an inclusive America 250th commemoration. Research may be used to nominate and/or highlight lesser-known Underground Railroad sites.

The Network to Freedom is documenting connections between the Underground Railroad and Indigenous communities and the project will continue to explore Indigenous representation in freedom-seeking. The National Underground Railroad Newtork to Freedom allows the National Park Service to work outside of park boundaries and directly with communities and descendants connected to Underground Railroad history. The Network to Freedom has over 700 sites in 39 states plus Washington D.C. and the Virgin Islands.

The partnership complements the NEH "A More Perfect Union" initiative which encourages projects that explore, reflect on, and tell the stories of our quest for a more just, inclusive, and sustainable society throughout our history. The National Endowment for the Humanities especially welcomes projects that bring the perspective of the humanities to questions of racial justice, gender equality, the evolution of the American landscape, as well as America’s place in the world.

The project supports youth engagement by leveraging National Park Service relationships with the Greening Youth Foundation and Historically Black Colleges and Universities Internship Program. The Greening Youth Foundation is the leading and longest running youth-serving organization in the United States focused on natural resource management careers for diverse, underserved, and underrepresented young adults. Project work will be inclusive of indigenous and underserved communities as appropriate.

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Last updated: March 23, 2023