The Group Travel Leader

OHIO 2017

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57 w w w . o h i o h a s i t . c o m I n the mid-1800s, slavery became a hot issue in the free state of Ohio. Communities were split between pro-slavery and anti-slavery, which caused abolitionists to form secretive networks that helped escaping slaves. at hidden move- ment became known as the Underground Railroad, and Ohio had the most active routes of any state due to its geographic location near Canada. NATIONAL UNDERGROUND RAILROAD FREEDOM CENTER CINCINNATI Located in downtown Cincinnati on the banks of the Ohio Riv- er, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center consists of three connected buildings that symbolize the cornerstones of free- dom: courage, cooperation and perseverance. Opened in 2004, the center's Ohio River Val- ley location was an active site along the passage to freedom. e fourth fl oor houses the John Parker Library where African-Americans and other visitors can work with volunteers to trace their genealogy. e center also educates about issues that aff ect populations where contem- porary slavery is still an issue. e center high- lights specifi c examples of forced labor and sex traffi cking that continue to be issues here in the United States and around the globe. "We're the only museum in the nation with a permanent exhibit talking about modern slav- ery, titled, "Invisible Slavery Today," said group sales specialist James Harrington. "We focus on the past and present, and want to see people become change agents in our world and help others gain their freedom." Groups can opt for a self-guided or a guided tour. e Women of Courage tour focuses on the role of women dur- ing the Underground Railroad. Faith to Freedom explores the role of faith during the Underground Railroad and abolitionist movement. Tour lengths average 90 minutes to two hours. "We focus on specifi c areas such as the Underground Railroad cou- pled with contemporary issues and modern slavery. We want people to look at this history and examine their faith today," said Harrington. FREEDOM'S ORIGINS OHIO HONORS ITS ROLE IN THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD Above: Presentation at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center Opposite page (clockwise from top right): Slavery exhibit; Stone Academy; John Rankin House Courtesy National Underground Railroad Freedom Center B Y E L I Z A B E T H H E Y

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