On Thursday, November 2nd, Ursula McTaggart’s Intro to Race, Gender, and Ethnicity class went on a field trip to Cincinnati’s Freedom Center. The Freedom Center is located in the center of downtown Cincinnati and explains the many aspects of the underground railroad.
Ursula says, “I chose the Freedom Center because of student interest and I think the history of southwest Ohio is important for the abolitionist movement. I also think it is extremely useful to see visual representations of the things we have been learning about regarding slavery in class.”
“I think it is extremely useful to see visual representations of the things we have been learning about regarding slavery in class.” – Ursula McTaggart
The freedom center has two main sections. The first section was about the history of slavery and included many familiar names of the underground railroad including Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, and Harriet Jacobs. The history included why slaves were brought over to the United States, how they traveled to get here, and what the daily work included. It gave visual representations of tobacco, the dangers of working as field hands, and the type of material used to make their clothing throughout the year. All throughout the museum were pictures capturing slave’s daily lives.
The second section was about modern-day slavery. In this section it showed how in many third world countries, people are being taken and forced to work in horrible conditions to pay off a debt, or given away by their families because they already had to many mouths to feed. There were many stories of first hand experiences from both males and females explaining how they got into the situation they were in and how difficult it was to get out. Like the first section, many visual representations were given.
Gino says, “The class really opens our eyes and teaches us about the difficulties of race and gender. I loved this trip!”
In the center of the Freedom Center was a slave pen that showed how the slaves of the underground railroad lived. It was typical for one or two slaves to live in a small area together, but the slave pen was a way to provide housing for many slaves that were running. The house in the museum was picked up and brought to the museum from a farm in Mason County Kentucky.
Ursula says, “I particularly like the slave pen because we get to see [the reality of] what things were like back then.”
The Freedom Center is located at 50 E Freedom Way, Cincinnati, OH 45202 and is open every day from 11-5 except for Sunday and Monday. People visiting the museum can walk around freely or have guided tours.