KET looks at the fugitive slave movement in the one-hour documentary Kentuckys Underground RailroadPassage to Freedom.
Many Kentucky people and sites played fascinating and critical roles in the story of slavery, abolitionism, and the underground railroad. Though no actual railroad existed, the term refers to the escape of enslaved African Americans through secret pathways, both with and without assistance.
Kentuckys location on the border of slave and nonslave states and its unique geography as the only state surrounded on three sides by rivers created opportunities for people who were willing to risk their lives to live in freedom, and those willing to risk everything to help them. KETs documentary tells the following stories and more:
In addition, the web site contains additional footage, including oral histories passed down in the Turley and the Brown families.
Teachers who want to use this resource in their classes will find it useful to preview sections of the documentary on the web. Applications to Kentuckys Core Content for Assessment in Social Studies and Arts and Humanities curricula are in the teachers resources section, which includes humanities activities for students using The Last Sale of Slaves, a painting by Kentuckian Thomas S. Noble; the original lyrics of My Old Kentucky Home; and other sources.
A brief history of slavery in Kentucky and timeline are included to provide a historical context for the documentary. In addition, recent research by scholars and lay people is beginning to uncover sources of information that may lead to the documentation of more family stories and historic sites. Search the community research section for opportunities for research and public information grants, as well as steps in the documentation of historic sites.