Jeannie Regan-Dinius told us the story of the U.G.R.R. (Underground Railroad) about as well as can be done in one hour, and included fascinating information on the research that continues to be done on it.
“Believe It Or – What?”
The earliest reference to “the underground railroad” was 1844.
In Uncle Tom’s Cabin Eliza jumped ice flows to cross the Ohio River from Kentucky to Indiana, but the most common way was to walk across in summer when the water was low in winter across solid ice.
Barbers were the most effective operators for the UGRR, who could pick up intelligence about their communities from the men who gathered in their shops.
A minority of Hoosiers were anti-slavery. Only some of those were Abolitionists. And, only a select number of those crossed the line into the illegal activities of the UGRR…
Some Abolitionists formed the American Colonization Society, the purpose of which was to ship blacks back to Africa.
De facto slavery existed in Indiana in the form of uses of the indentured labor system, sojourning law, & outright non-compliance.
The earlies fugitive slave law was 1793, but lacked teeth, like many of the people of that time; the 1850 Compromise took authority away from the local sheriff & gave enforcement powers to federal marshals, but some Hoosier communities nullified that law by various means.
Of the fugitives coming into the network of the UGGG, only a fraction successfully made their escape a success by getting into Canada.
But the power of the human spirt is amazing.
Books Recommended by Ms. Regan-Dinius:
Homeless, Friendless, Penniless The WPA Interviews with Former Slaves Living In Indiana
by Ronald L. Baker
Beyond The River The Untold Story of the Heroes of the Underground Railroad
by Ann Hagedorn
Bound for Canaan The Underground Railroad & the War for the Soul of America
by Fergus Bordewich
Learn more about “The Ordinary People Who Changed History” at The Carnegie Center for Art & History in New Albany, Indiana: www.carnegiecenter.org
Secretary Report: Attendance—21. Treasury–$1,091.44
A motion was passed to make 2017 dues $20.
November 14th Meeting of CWRTNI:
Mark Meyer on “John E. Wilkins, Ready & Able: A Hoosier’s Civil War.” Mark is a volunteer with the Lincoln Library and has transcribed Wilkins’ diary. Wilkins was a member of the 11th and 16th Indiana.
Jane Gastineau will present “When Lincoln Ran for President” as a part of the “Lincoln at the Library” series this Sunday, Oct. 16th, in Room A at 2:00 at the ACPL