Oberlin and the Underground Railroad Presentation at BGSU Firelands

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A group of Oberlin area citizens who were arrested for helping a man escape from slave catchers in 1858 (photo compliments of Oberlin College Archives).

On Wednesday, Feb. 8, Bowling Green State University Firelands College will host Liz Schultz of the Oberlin Heritage Center when she presents Freedom’s Friends: Oberlin and the Underground Railroad as part of the College’s Diversity Celebration month.

Prior to the Civil War, as many as 3,000 African Americans passed through or lived in Oberlin after escaping from slavery.  The town was once said to be second only to Canada as an asylum for freedom seekers.

Schultz, museum education and tour coordinator at the Oberlin Heritage Center, will present an illustrated program about the historic decisions that shaped Oberlin’s growth as a station and highlight the individuals and events that marked Oberlin as one of the most active stations of the Underground Railroad.

Stories will include Oberlin College’s acceptance of African American students, the famous ship Amistad and a formerly enslaved student, men who volunteered for John Brown’s violent raid on Harper’s Ferry, and local efforts to thwart slave catchers.

Schultz graduated with degrees in archaeology and anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Binghamton University, New York.  She also earned a master’s in arts degree in museum studies with a focus in museum education from the Cooperstown Graduate Program, New York.

Schultz has been with the Oberlin Heritage Center since 2007 and spent nearly a year researching and preparing a new history walk about Oberlin’s participation in the Underground Railroad.

Free and open to the public, the BGSU Firelands event will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 8, at 12:30 p.m. in the Cedar Point Center at One University Drive, Huron, Ohio.  For additional information, contact BGSU Firelands at 419.433.5560.