The fourth annual National Underground Railroad Conference will take place in Topeka from July 28-31, 2010, bringing together scholars, archivists, community researchers, student artists, and enthusiasts from across the nation. The four-day conference is entitled "Battleground for Freedom: The Underground Railroad on the Western Frontier" and will include renowned speakers, educational workshops, panel discussions, an exhibit hall, a film screening, and tours of local museums and historic sites. All are invited to participate in these unique opportunities to learn about the locally and nationally significant stories of freedom and struggle on the Underground Railroad in Kansas.
The conference will take place at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Topeka, KS. The public is invited to a pre-conference screening of Negroes for Hire, a documentary about slavery in Missouri which will take place at the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library on July 27, 2010 at 7:00 pm. Film directors Gary Jenkins, J.D. and Jimmy Johnson, Ph.D., will discuss the film in the context of their slave/slaveholder frontier settler families. The public may register for pre- and post-conference tours which will give participants an opportunity to visit Underground Railroad sites throughout eastern Kansas. Conference registrants are invited to an opening reception at the Kansas Historical Society recognizing efforts to preserve Underground Railroad history and heritage such as the newly signed Kansas legislation designating a portion of U.S. Highway 75 the "Lane Freedom Trail." The conference exhibit hall at the Capitol Plaza will showcase Underground Railroad history and commemorative efforts from across the country, art projects depicting stories of the Underground Railroad created by Topeka area Freedom School students, and conference related materials which will be available for purchase.
The annual conference is sponsored by the Network to Freedom Program. Through shared leadership with local, state, and federal entities, as well as interested individuals and organizations, the Network to Freedom Program promotes the preservation and interpretation of resources associated with the Underground Railroad community. To register for the conference and for detailed information about conference events, tours, and hotel information visit www.ugrconference.com
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