7 Steps to Freedom: Finding the Underground Railroad in Salem County
Aired: July 31, 2011
Although helping slaves escape bondage was illegal, an extensive network of African Americans and whites worked on the Underground Railroad to bring people into freedom. Southern New Jersey was an important node, as it bordered slave states like Delaware, but was, by the early 19th century, a free state. A number of Underground Railroad sites in southern New Jersey remain, particularly in Salem County, where Quaker residents were actively involved. In this episode of Humanities Connection, James Turk, Director of Cultural Affairs and Tourism Information Services of the Salem County Cultural and Heritage Commission and Wendel White, professor of photography at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, discuss the history of the Underground Railroad in Salem County. Both are involved in “Seven Steps to Freedom,” a project that seeks to bring the history of the Underground Railroad to life through an audio tour of seven sites in Salem County, a photography exhibition and video podcasts. Based on historical records, the audio tour features the words of slaves risking their lives to get to freedom as well as the courageous people who aided them in their journey.
To Learn More Visit:
- NJCH Grants which support projects like 7 Steps to Freedom.
- Wendel White’s website, which features his photographic work on African American history in Southern New Jersey and around the nation.
- Salem County, where you can visit the historical sites visited in these clips.