As the Civil War loomed and politicians from the North and South debated the fate of slavery, brave New Yorkers risked their lives to help fugitive slaves escape bondage. Because of its clandestine nature, much of the history of the Underground Railroad remains shrouded in secrecy—so much so that some historians have even doubted its importance.
After decades of research, Tom Calarco recounts his experiences compiling evidence to give credence to the legend’s oral history in a new book The Search for the Underground Railroad in Upstate New York (History Press, 2014).
Whites and blacks alike worked together on the Underground Railroad, using ingenious methods of communication and tactics to stay ahead of the slave master and bounty hunter. Especially after the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act, conscientious residents doubled their efforts to help runaways reach Canada.
Several meet the author / book signing events are planned in the near future:
Meet the author
August 9 from 11 am – 12:30 pm @ The Book Hound (Amsterdam, NY)
August 9 at 3 pm @ Walter Elwood Museum (Amsterdam, NY)
August 10 at 5 pm @ Peru Free Library with North Star Underground Railroad Museum (Peru, NY)
August 14 at 6:30 pm @ the Old Courthouse, sponsored by Montgomery County Department of History and Archives and the Montgomery County Historical Society (Fonda, NY)
August 16 at 2 pm @ Schenectady County Historical Society (Schenectady, NY)
August 22 at 7 pm @ Northshire Books (Saratoga Springs, NY)
August 23 at 2 pm @ Buffalo Street Books (Ithaca, NY)
August 25 at 6:30 pm @ Ontario Historical Society (Ontario, NY)
Tom Calarco is the author/editor of six books about the Underground Railroad, including The Underground Railroad and the Adirondack Region, for which he won the 2008 Underground Railroad Free Press award for the advancement of knowledge in Underground Railroad studies. Calarco has published more than thirty articles about the Underground Railroad in such varied publications and has presented papers at the National Park Service’s Network to Freedom annual conference, the Underground Railroad Project of the Capital Region conference in Albany and the Borderlands conference in Cincinnati. He also was the keynote speaker at the first North Star Underground Railroad Project conference and has spoken at a number of colleges and historical societies. A member of the North Country Underground Railroad Historical Association based in the Adirondack region, he continues to work on developing the true history of the Underground Railroad.
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