Follow route to freedom on the Underground Railroad

BATH, Ohio – Hale Farm and Village, a property of the Western Reserve Historical Society , is introducing a new public program designed to enrich understanding of the racial and ethnic diversity of Northeast Ohio during the mid-19th century.

A Fugitive’s Path Escape on the Under Ground Railroad presents a first hand look at a runaway slave’s flight to freedom.

The journey begins on the grounds of Hale Farm and Village in the year 1852. You are now a slave. Your body, your time, your very breath belong to a farmer who is about to place you on the auction block to be sold to a slave speculator. The slave speculator’s intention is to send you to New Orleans where his partner will sell you at a profit. When your overseer turns his back you start running. Your bid for freedom now begins.

Some of the individuals/situations you will encounter throughout the evening include:

Letty Bell, another escapee, will discuss her life as a slave on a Kentucky tobacco plantation. She will also share with you her experiences since running away.

Maggie Meredith, a farmer’s daughter, hides you in her family’s barn. While hiding among the animals and hay you overhear slave catchers discussing the bounty they will receive should they capture you during your plight. They have no sympathy towards you. Catching you is their source of income.

Jacob and Hannah Meredith, a farming family, are indifferent to the plight of slaves and fear the consequences their family will face should they try to assist you. They politely yet urgently send you on your way.

Margaret Wright, a Quaker woman, justifies helping you because she believes she is obeying a higher law. Dora Watson, a free black, is sympathetic to you and what you are facing as a fugitive slave. She invites you into her home and shares the difficulties she faces living under the Ohio Black Laws.

This outdoor program utilizes the grounds of Hale Farm and Village and presents the museum’s historic homes and barns as fictional Underground Railroad sites. Costumed role players will depict characters, both black and white and free citizens and slaves.

Hale Farm and Village staff along with an advisory team of community leaders, academics, school officials and others have spent more then two years in the research and development of this highly interactive program.

A Fugitive’s Path-Escape on the Underground Railroad will be held Thursday through Saturday evenings March 15 through March 31. This program is recommend for individuals age 13 and older. Admission is $12 per person.

Advance ticket purchase is required. This program takes place outdoors; appropriate clothing is suggested. To purchase your tickets please call 1-800-589-9703. Hale Farm and Village is located at 2686 Oak Hill Road, Bath, Ohio and will begin its 2001 daily operating season on May 26.

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