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Community Research and Preservation

      Many Kentucky people and sites played fascinating and critical roles in the story of slavery, abolitionism and the Underground Railroad. Of course much of that history was necessarily secret and very little is documented of the role Kentucky communities, churches and/or families played in the fugitive slave movement. Buildings that were rumored to have contained hiding places for escaping slaves have not been studied for their historic importance. Yet, the hundreds of miles of Kentucky border separating freedom from slavery lead to an intuitive belief there had to be more fugitive slave activity in Kentucky than is recorded.

Kentucky's bitter division in the mid-19th century over the issue of slavery has carried over to present day feelings that this period in history is simply too painful to bring up. After generations of simply not talking about it, historical sites have been ignored, undocumented, or destroyed, and valuable oral histories have gone unrecorded. However, it seems that interest in community research on slavery, slave resistance, and site identification is slowly gaining momentum.

For those who are interested in conducting research in their communities, information on using primary and secondary sources, bibliographies, and/or steps to follow in the documentation process are available here.

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Last Updated: Tuesday, 09-May-2006 10:39:18 Eastern Daylight Time