Three historical sites in Maryland have been added to the National Park Service’s National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom program, joining a registry of over 700 sites in the network.
The sites include Mass Escape at the Mackall Plantation, located on St. Mary’s College of Maryland Campus; St. Stephen’s A.M.E. Church Cemetery in Easton; and the Jails at Port Tobacco Courthouse in Port Tobacco.
Maryland now has over 80 sites listed in the Network to Freedom program.
The Underground Railroad, which operated from the late 18th century to the end of the Civil War, was a network of people who offered assistance to African Americans escaping enslavement.
Harriet Tubman – a Dorchester County native – was among the most famous “conductors” of the Underground Railroad.
“Our civil rights figures and landmarks stand as pillars of freedom and teach us lessons in moral courage, reminding us and future generations to be steadfast in the fight for equality and justice,” Senator Chris Van Hollen said in a statement announcing the three new historical sites.
“We will continue to highlight these stories to preserve their place in history, shining light on the men and women who courageously escaped slavery and those who sought to end this evil institution,” Van Hollen said.
In October, the National Park Service named Baltimore’s B&O Railroad Museum to its Network to Freedom. The museum has documented at least 20 freedom-seekers whose journeys included the B&O Railroad, some of whom passed through Mount Clare Station, the nation’s oldest rail depot.
The Network to Freedom program was created in 1998, when the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Act of 1998 was passed. The program’s mission is to “advance the idea that all human beings embrace the right to self-determination and freedom from oppression,” according to the National Park Service’s website.
The program has identified over 700 locations in 39 states, plus Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands, with a verifiable connection to the Underground Railroad.