Tryon Palace to Host Underground Railroad Symposium

An Underground Railroad Symposium featuring scholars and special programming that explores the intricate web of secret routes, refuges, and brave, caring people is planned for this spring in New Bern.

“Pathways to Freedom: The Underground Railroad” is scheduled from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 21 at Tryon Palace’s Cullman Performance Hall at the North Carolina History Center.

Event registration is $5 plus tax and includes lunch. Space is limited. To register, call 252-639-3524 or purchase a ticket at the North Carolina History Center box office at 529 S. Front St. in New Bern.

The Underground Railroad is a term describing the efforts of enslaved African Americans to escape bondage.

Speakers and panelists will review what is known and unknown about the Underground Railroad, both nationally and specifically in eastern North Carolina.

The agenda includes a film presentation, university speakers, a performance of “Songs of Freedom about the Underground Railroad” by the Craven Community College Choir, and three panel discussions. Panel discussions include: The First Underground Railroad in North America; The Second and Last Underground Railroads, 1800–1865; and Legacy of the American Underground Railroads.

Dr. Timothy D. Walker, professor of history at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, is the keynote speaker. Walker sits on the board of the Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture. The Tryon Palace African American Advisory Committee participated in the presentation of the symposium.

“The executive director, staff and planners of Tryon Palace are to be commended for providing the public with this comprehensive view of this country’s popularly named Underground Railroad.” Dr. David C. Dennard, chair of the Tryon Palace African American Advisory Board, said in a statement.

For more information, contact Sharon Bryant, African American Outreach Coordinator, at 252 639-3592, or [email protected]

Bonny J. Streater