Underground Railroad Lecture To Kick Off New Public Program Series

"Sanctuary: Past Into Present" is a series of free public seminars offered by The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia. The first event, "In Search of the Underground Railroad," will take place on April 2 at Rutgers-Camden.

Throughout American history, people have come to the Philadelphia region seeking opportunity, while others have been fleeing persecution, and still others have been forced here in chains. When have these migrants been granted the right to feel safe, and when have they been denied safety? How do we come to grips with our country’s contradictory history of celebrating the diversity these many migrations produced, while denying rights to many?

This spring, join friends and neighbors for “Sanctuary: Past Into Present,” a series of free public seminars offered by The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia. Learn from local experts about Philadelphia’s immigration and migration history, hear from activists working in the region now, and grapple with how our complicated histories shape today’s social and political landscape.

The first event in the series, “In Search of the Underground Railroad,” will take place on April 2 at Rutgers-Camden. For more than a decade, archaeologist Dr. Cheryl LaRoche has been researching and physically exploring the landscapes of eighteenth and nineteenth century free Black communities, their churches, cemeteries and institutions, and their relationship to the Underground Railroad. Dr. LaRoche will share her most recent findings and make connections with the history of South Jersey, particularly the AME Church.

Prior to the lecture, community organizations and individuals are invited to create exhibits of their Underground Railroad documents, artifacts, and stories. Dr. LaRoche’s book, Free Black Communities and the Underground Railroad: The Geography of Resistance, will be available for sale and signing at the end of the program.

This event is supported by the Office of the Chancellor, Rutgers-Camden. Co-sponsoring departments and programs: History, Africana Studies, Liberal Studies, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Center for the Humanities (MARCH), and The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia. 

The program series is free and open to the public. Register here.

For any questions about the first event, contact Olivia Errico, ole3@scarletmail.rutgers.edu, for information.

In Search of the Underground Railroad:
Connecting People, Places, and Things
Tuesday, April 2, lecture at 7 p.m. preceded by exhibits from 6-7 p.m.
Rutgers-Camden Campus Center, Multi-Purpose Room