On day two of Black Week, the Black Student Union (BSU) shared about the path to freedom many slaves traveled in the 1800’s, what we know as the Underground Railroad. Starting in the Shaw Center, readers took turns describing aspects of African Americans journey to freedom that many of us know, like how thousands of slaves escaped the southern states by going to the northern states and sometimes all the way to Canada, and details that are less commonly known, such as how the Quakers religious society was one of the first abolitionist groups and that they may have helped influence Pennsylvania to be the first state to ban slavery.
The speakers also shared of other influences acting against slavery and the Fugitive Slave Acts that sent captured runaway slaves and even already freed blacks and placed them back into slavery. These influences included books like Harriet Beecher Stowe’s bestseller of the 19th century Uncle Tom’s Cabin and people like Harriet Tubman, famous for helping over 300 slaves escape to freedom by use of the Underground Railroad.
Everyone in attendance was led by Harriet Tubman, played by Bianca Pensy, from the Shaw to the MSC main room in resemblance of leading us through Underground Railroad. While I braced against the bitter wind of a Lamoni winter in the middle of the day for the one-minute walk, I thought about the 10-20 mile nightly walk most slaves had to endure to find the freedom they were denied.
The event concluded in the MSC main room with the Emancipation Proclamation that legally ended slavery in the South but its immediate implementation was ineffective due to the fact that the targeted states had seceded from the Union.
Wednesday’s event is sure to be “emotional” as described by an excited Meredith Salois, a member of the Black Student Union.
If you missed the clubs and organizations fair but are interested in joining BSU, anyone and everyone is welcome! You can contact President Lashaunda Yates at email@example.com.
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