UGRR Information & Organizations

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Underground Railroad routes showing rail, waterways, and connections between stops from Places in the UGRR by Tom Calarco


It’s been more than 30 years since I began my quest to learn about the Underground Railroad (UGRR). It has taken me through New York, New England, the Mideast and Midwest, south of the Mason-Dixon Line and three provinces in Canada. While reviewing my journeys, some of them have faded from my memory and some of those who helped and led me, have passed away.

What I have learned is that there is still so much to unravel, still many forgotten and little-known stories of human compassion and heroism, stories about our unquenchable thirst for freedom. These are stories I hope will inspire others to continue to uncover and celebrate.

I’m far from the only one bringing others this history. There are many historic sites and organizations doing this. Perhaps, first and foremost is the National Parks Service and their Network to Freedom, which documents and recognizes important UGRR sites and stories, and holds an annual convention that brings historians together to present the results of their research. I was a featured presenter at the 2009 conference in Indianapolis, an event I vividly recall because I sat on the featured panel with UGRR historian Larry Gara, whose work has been maligned by some, but which nevertheless made a significant contribution to the study of the UGRR in bringing more focus to the sometime overlooked black leaders of the Underground Railroad.

Other significant organizations and museums include the Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati; the Ontario Freedom Trail in Canada; the Underground Railroad Education Center in Albany, N.Y.; the Abolitionist Hall of Fame and Gerrit Smith Estate in Peterboro, N.Y.; the North Country Underground Railroad Historical Association and North Star Museum in Ausable Chasm, N.Y.; John Brown Lives in Lake Placid; Rokeby Museum in Ferrisburgh, Vermont; and the Chester County, PA Historical Society. Those I know best, but there are others, and links to their websites are on this page. In addition, a link to Wikipedia is provided which lists even more organizations in greater detail, as well as links to various academic collections. The list is not exhaustive but representative.