Event Details


Saturday, February 26th, 2022
2:00 p.m. EST

St. James AME Zion Church
116 Cleveland Ave, Ithaca, NY 14850

Note: For those who would prefer to watch this event virtually, streaming options will be announced shortly.

The Underground Railroad presents an opportunity and a unique set of challenges for documenting and understanding the experience of escape from bondage along the clandestine routes that traversed our region. It is estimated that between 1,000 and 5,000 freedom seekers escaped slavery every year between 1830 and 1860. What can we know about the freedom seekers’ experiences of traveling on the Underground Railroad? Little documentation exists to tell us about these escapes, especially after 1850, when the Fugitive Slave Law made it a federal crime to assist freedom seekers escaping north.

In his presentation, Professor Gerard Aching (Africana Studies, Cornell) will describe two current projects that are attempting to answer these questions: the archaeological excavation at the St. James AME Zion Church in Ithaca and a new website, Voices on the Underground Railroad, which provides insights into the courage that it took for freedom seekers to place their fate in the hands of complete strangers and also liberate themselves from slavery.

To learn more about the Underground Railroad Project and the history of the St James A.M.E. Zion Church:
Stories of the Underground Railroad
Excavation to explore church’s role in Underground Railroad
Freedom seekers speak on Underground Railroad website

This event is Co-Sponsored by Cornell Mosaic, The Cornell Club of Ithaca, and The Cornell Black Alumni Association (CBAA).

Event Questions? Contact Nicole LaFave at nrw6@cornell.edu
Registration Questions? Contact Brendan West at btw27@cornell.edu

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