Beginning in 2022, the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom began a multi-year project to highlight the undiscovered stories of enslaved people seeking freedom during the Revolutionary Era, meant to coincide with the 250th commemoration of our Nation’s founding. Research on the project has been conducted by a team of interns guided by Network to Freedom staff and historians, as well as scholars engaged in this field of study. We have also coordinated with other national park sites, including Independence National Historical Park and their internship team. This multi-year project will continue through 2025. Exploratory themes include military service for freedom seekers during the Revolutionary War, self-emancipation during the chaos that it brought, as well as identifying modes and patterns in freedom seeking. In addition, research will also include biographical sketches for freed individuals, a database of those who sought and found freedom, and related primary documents.
This project is a partnership between the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom, the National Park Service, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Park Foundation, and the Greening Youth Foundation. Our partnership seeks to explore the meaning of freedom during the Revolutionary Era by focusing research on the lived experience of enslaved individuals associated with National Park Service sites. As the nation prepares to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the founding of the United States of America, the research on freedom seeking in the context of the American Revolution will identify and evaluate resources associated with the African American struggle for freedom and civil rights.
Discover the story of Freedom Seekers in the Revolutionary Era
Learn more about our project research team
Find out more about our partners behind Claiming Freedom
Last updated: March 10, 2023