Harriet Tubman Conference partners with National Park Service

CAMBRIDGE — The National Park Service, National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom (NTF) Program and the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Conference will be co-hosting the Harriet Tubman Conference in 2017, in honor of the grand opening of the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center in Church Creek, Maryland. The conference, “On the Edge of Freedom: Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad in the Borderlands,” will be held in Cambridge, May 18-21.

The lodging headquarters for the conference will be the Comfort Inn and Suites, at 2936 Ocean Gateway in Cambridge.

The conference brings together scholars, site stewards, researchers, student artists, and enthusiasts from across the nation for four days of renowned speakers, panel discussions, workshops, an exhibit hall, and tours. This conference will explore all aspects of the Underground Railroad in the borderlands—both literal and figurative.

The keynote speaker for this year’s conference is Manisha Sinha. Ms. Sinha is professor of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She was born in India and received her Ph.D from Columbia University where her dissertation was nominated for the Bancroft prize. She was awarded the Chancellor’s Medal, the highest honor bestowed on faculty and received the Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award in Recognition of Outstanding Graduate Teaching and Advising from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she taught for over 20 years. Her recent book “The Slave’s Cause” has been reviewed by the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, The Atlantic, and the Boston Globe, among other newspapers and journals. It was featured as the Editor’s Choice of the New York Times Book Review. Her first book, “The Counterrevolution of Slavery”, was named one of the ten best books on slavery in Politico in 2015.

Also appearing at the conference are creators and cast members of WGN America’s Underground, a TV series that has received critical acclaim for its gripping portrayal of the Underground Railroad. Series Creators Misha Green and Joe Pokaski will join actress Aisha Hinds in a moderated panel session to discuss the groundbreaking series, sharing the inspiration behind the series and the importance of bringing this larger than life story of American heroes to the small screen.

Registration for the conference begins on May 18, at the Comfort Inn host hotel in Cambridge. Workshops will be offered at the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center in Church Creek, with bus transportation provided from the hotel. Also offered are a tour of Harriet Tubman’s birthplace, meeting and leaving from the hotel on Thursday.

Friday morning registration continues at the Harriet Tubman Museum in Cambridge, at 424 Race St. in Cambridge. Conference session will be held at Chesapeake College, two doors down from the museum at 416-418 Race St. There will be a Friday luncheon at Grace United Methodist Church in Cambridge, which will also be the location of the keynote speech and plenary session. The Friday Harriet Tubman banquet will be held at the Dorchester Center for the Arts at 321 High St. in Cambridge, with entertainment by musician Marcus Shelby doing a salute to UGRR.

Saturday will feature a day of conferences and workshops at Chesapeake College, and Sunday a tour is offered. Late registration is still available at the ASALH website at https://asalh100.org.

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