Exploring Albany’s History on the Underground Railroad

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Albany Media Relations Office |

ALBANY, N.Y. (August 21, 2017) — The Underground Railroad helped shape the history of the United States, as key figures like Sojourner Truth, John Brown and Harriet Tubman risked their lives to help ferry escaped slaves to freedom.

As students learned this summer, the railroad had an important stop right here in Albany, where Stephen and Harriett Myers and Thomas Elkins helped counteract slave catchers by providing legal assistance, food, clothing, money and temporary shelter to escaped slaves.

Through an archaeological field school, UAlbany students explored the homes of Elkins and the Myers, learning how to lay out units, excavate, screen, map, record, and photograph archaeological features at the sites.

Through their work, students have helped supplement the written record on an important way station along the railroad, when 150 years ago some brave citizens helped hundreds of slaves make their way through Albany on the road to Canada, and freedom.

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