Freedom's Frontier Receives Network to Freedom Designation


Lawrence, KS – The National Park Service’s National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom announced on September 30, 2021, that it is recognizing Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area (NHA) as a program in the Network to Freedom. Freedom’s Frontier NHA joins 18 new listings from the 42nd round of Network to Freedom applications and becomes the first NHA to receive such a designation. This new listing, one of over 695 others already in the Network, which include partner sites in Freedom’s Frontier NHA, provides insight into the experiences of freedom seekers who bravely escaped slavery and those who assisted them.


Congress authorized Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area, Inc. (FFNHA) in 2006 to work with the National Park Service and local organizations to tell important stories of the region relating to the enduring struggle for freedom, including the Underground Railroad. Extraordinary events in the FFNHA, forever changed America. In the 19th century, the nation turned its eyes to the Missouri/Kansas border, where peoples with diverse definitions of freedom collided, fueling the Civil War. The impact of these events is forever woven into the nation’s fabric.


“Through this designation, the National Park Service’s Underground Railroad Network to Freedom, has recognized the importance of the sites and stories of the Underground Railroad on the Kansas/Missouri border. We are proud to be the first National Heritage Area to be accepted on the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom and are eager to work alongside the Underground Railroad Network to Freedom in sharing our region’s Underground Railroad history with the public”, says, Grant Glenn, Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area.


Freedom’s Frontier NHA offices and historic displays are open to the public, though operations may be limited due to the outbreak of COVID-19. For most current information, visit their website and download their APP to your mobile phone at the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store to discover the sites and stories of the underground railroad in the Freedom’s Frontier NHA. Profiles of Network to Freedom sites within the Freedom’s Frontier NHA can be viewed on the YouTube channel of Freedom’s Frontier.


The National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom serves to honor, preserve, and promote the history of resistance to enslavement through escape and flight, which continues to inspire people worldwide. The Network currently represents over 695 locations in 39 states, plus Washington D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Through its mission, the Network to Freedom helps to advance the idea that all human beings embrace the right to self-determination and freedom from oppression. “Each time we accept new listings, we are reminded of the power Underground Railroad histories hold today,” says Miller. “The stories of freedom seekers, who risked everything to claim their liberty, inspire us . . .”


In honor of FFNHA being recognized as a program in the National Park Services’ Network to Freedom, we are once again featuring the International Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Tour! This tour takes you along the path of the Underground Railroad in Kansas and Missouri, including visits to Network to Freedoms sites such as the Fort Scott National Historic Site in Fort Scott (KS), African-American Quilt Museum and Textile Academy, Grover Barn and the Watkins Museum of History in Lawrence (KS), Constitutional Hall and the John and Mary Ritchie House in Topeka (KS), Mount Mitchell Heritage Prairie near Manhattan (KS), and the Battle of Island Mound State Historic Site near Butler (MO)! With each location you visit, as long as you have notification alerts enabled, you will receive a badge.


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