2013 Statewide Underground Railroad Conference

Mar. 16 (9:00 am - 4:30 pm)

State Historical Society of Iowa

600 East Locust

Des Moines, Iowa

This event is free and open to the public.

9:00 am Welcome
Douglas Jones, Iowa Freedom Trail Grant Project Manager
State Historical Society of Iowa, Des Moines, Iowa

9:15 am Josiah Bushnell Grinnell and the Iowa Underground Railroad
David Connon
Independent Researcher, Earlham, Iowa

10:00 am Underground Railroad Sites and Museums in Iowa
Rev. John Todd House, Tabor, Iowa
Mason Umphreys,Tabor Historical Society
Rev. George Hitchcock House, Lewis, Iowa
Dana Kunze, Hitchcock House Advisory Board
James C. Jordan House, West Des Moines, Iowa
Joe Crisp and Penny Schiltz, West Des Moines Historical Society
Lewelling Quaker Museum, Salem, Iowa
Jean Leeper and Cathy Helman, Lewelling Quaker Museum

10:45 am Break

11:00 am Why the Freedom Train Had to Be Underground: The Legal and Constitutional Issues Surrounding the Underground Railroad
Paul Finkelman, President William McKinley Distinguished Professor of Law and Public Policy
Albany Law School , Albany, New York

This lecture is sponsored by the State Historical Society of Iowa Iowa
Freedom Trail Grant Project and the Alexander Clark Cultural Series, a joint program of the Muscatine Community College Foundation, the Muscatine Community College, and the Alexander Clark project.

12:00 pm Lunch on your own

1:00 pm Getting to know the National Park Service National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program
Deanda Johnson, Midwest Regional Coordinator
National Park Service National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program
Omaha, Nebraska

1:30 pm Iowa Freedom Trail Grant Project: An Overview
Douglas Jones, Iowa Freedom Trail Grant Project Manager
State Historical Society of Iowa, Des Moines, Iowa

2:00 pm Break

2:15 pm Facilitated Discussion regarding the Future of the Underground Railroad History and Sites in Iowa
The State Historical Society of Iowa’s Iowa Freedom Trail Grant Project is coming to a conclusion in September 2013. With the end of this project, a number of issues and questions about the future of Underground Railroad History in Iowa become plainly clear. The purpose of this facilitated discussion is to explore these issues and questions with the current “stockholders in this railroad” which are the groups maintaining the sites, the historical societies maintaining information and artifacts, the historians and historical researchers who are still working on documenting the stories and all of the partners who are telling these stories yet today and reminding people that this
history happened here in Iowa and throughout the Midwest. Some possible topics to discuss:

• How do we bring greater public awareness to this history?
• Some of the people, places, and events associated with this history in Iowa and throughout the Midwest had historical significance at the national level. How do we go about establishing the national significance of these people, places, and events?
• Where will the information gathered as part of the Iowa Freedom Trail Grant project be located and how can it be accessed? Will it be able to be accessed digitally and on the internet?
• What types of funds and grants are available to do restoration and maintenance activities or could help cover museum operational costs at the existing sites to ensure that they can remain?
• What types of funds are available to help pay for the development of exhibits or archival projects at the museums, libraries and historical societies?
• Is there a way for UGRR historians and researchers to post questions and possible leads on information so that other researchers would be aware of current research and might be able to assist with the research?
• Would it be worthwhile to create a network of friends and start a statewide Iowa Underground Railroad organization to help work on any of the above topics?
If you have other topics that you would like to discuss, please participate in these discussions.

4:30 End of Symposium

Contact: Doug Jones doug.jones@iowa.gov (515) 281-4358

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