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Through Darkness to Light: Photographs Along the Underground Railroad

Secret routes and safe houses.

Between 1830 and the end of the Civil War in 1865, an estimated 100,000 slaves chose to embark on a journey in search of freedom along the Underground Railroad -  a network of secret routes and safe houses established in the United States during the early to mid-19th century, and used by enslaved African-Americans to primarily escape into free states and Canada.

Photographer Jeanine Michna-Bales has spent more than a decade meticulously researching “fugitive” slaves and the ways they escaped to freedom. 

Follow the journey of freedom-seekers.

While the unnumbered routes of the Underground Railroad encompassed countless square miles, the path Michna-Bales documented encompasses roughly 2,000 miles and is based off of actual sites, cities, and places that freedom-seekers passed through during their journey.

This exhibit features beautifully dramatic color photographs, ephemera, and narratives that together tell the story of the Underground Railroad.

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