Belle Vue Ranch Added to National Park Service’s National Underground Railroad Network for Freedom – CBS Baltimore

BALTIMORE (WJZ) – Belle Vue Ranch in Havre De Grace, Maryland, is one of the newest sites on the National Park Service’s National Underground Railroad to Freedom Network.

“This site is important because, number one, it represents a place in Harford County that enslaved labor and maintained this property,” said Dr. Iris Barnes, a historian and educator.

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The enslaved people here escaped to freedom and were part of a major event in American history known as the Christiana Resistance.

A battle, in 1851, between free blacks and a federal marshal trying to capture escaped former slaves.

Harford County plays a large role in the underground railroad, thanks in part to its estuaries, rivers and creeks – and its proximity to the free state of Pennsylvania.

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“They will try to get to this area, the slaves, and they will find their way to Pennsylvania,” said Bruce Russell, president of the Havre de Grace Maritime Museum. “They can go by boat, they will have to cross the river and they can follow the stream and they will follow the river.”

The Havre de Grace Maritime Museum has just announced a new 600 square foot gallery and an interactive exhibit that tells the stories of those who escaped to freedom in this region. It’s called Underground Railroad: Another Voice of Freedom.

“We put this exhibit together to show how Harford County, the Susquehanna River, the Chesapeake River, got involved with the underground railway,” said Russell.

It is telling a story of American history that happened in our own backyard.

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“It is really important for the people of Harford County to know the role of the people who lived here and these historic American events,” Barnes said. “It’s not just African-American history, it’s American history.” Belle Vue Ranch Added to National Park Service’s National Underground Railroad Network for Freedom – CBS Baltimore

Jake Nichol

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