Willits Book Trust presents Books to the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park and the NPS Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program

Grants

On June 15, 2016, Lisa S. Garrison presented a copy of William Still’s seminal work, The Underground Railroad to the library of the new Visitor Center of the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park, on behalf of the Willits Book Trust of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. The book, based on Still’s journals and published in 1872, details ways in which Philadelphia’s Vigilance Committee aided escaped slaves and documents the families, individuals and networks—including slaves and former slaves from Maryland and other southern states—who passed through the City of Philadelphia as part of the Underground Railroad.

The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument is a new park encompassing a nearly 25,000- acre patchwork of federal, state, and private lands in Dorchester County, Maryland, including land significant to Tubman’s early years while enslaved and working as a conductor on the Underground Railroad.

Lisa Stewart Garrison attended the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Conference from June 13-June 16, 2016, on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, with support from the Willits Book Trust Committee and the Esther Wasson Education Fund of Greenwich Friends in Salem Quarter where Lisa is a member. While at the Conference, Garrison also presented the symbolic gift of a copy of Still’s book to the National Park Service Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program, honoring the 100th anniversary of the agency and the emergence of an exciting program with the potential to link many historic sites in our region.

The National Park Service implements the Network to coordinate preservation and education efforts nationwide and integrate local historical places, museums, and interpretive programs associated with the Underground Railroad into a mosaic of community, regional, and national stories.  There are currently more than a half dozen Underground Railroad Network sites in Philadelphia and other potential sites in the region, including those along the Delaware Bayshore of Southern New Jersey. The Network facilitates communication and networking between researchers and interested parties, and aids in the development of statewide organizations for preserving and researching Underground Railroad sites.

Garrison has been working in Western Cumberland County, NJ developing Underground Railroad Tours through a partnership that includes the City of Bridgeton, Gateway Community Action Partnership, the Cumberland County Improvement Authority, Historic Bethel Othello AME Church and Greenwich Friends Meeting, with support from the Cumberland County Cultural & Heritage Commission. While at the Conference, she met leaders of cultural heritage sites in Georgia and South Carolina to develop preliminary plans for potential Willits Book Trust book presentations in the coming months and years.

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From Left to Right: Lisa S. Garrison, Member of the Willits Book Trust Committee and Greenwich Friends Meeting; Robert T. Parker, Superintendent of the new Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Historical Park; Diane Miller, Manager of the National Park Service Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program; and Dana Patella, Park Manager for the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park, Maryland Park Service.