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Transition to Freedom

Before Emancipation, enslaved African Americans fled the plantations in which they were held in bondage. Harriet Tubman led hundreds to freedom.


After the Civil War, African Americans sought the education they were denied and established their own schools. Both adults and children were students.

orig class photo late 1894 cropped backd

Transition to Freedom is a three-phase initiative that documents the significant sites of memory that capture Harford County history through the lens of the African American experience.  From Civil War to Civil Rights, essentially, it is a series of aids for tourists that visit our region. The sites featured include historic African American churches, cemeteries with heroic Civil War United States Colored Troops (USCT), "free black" communities, Underground Railroad sites, historic "Colored" schools, and sites representing the efforts of the Civil Rights Movement.

Phase One is the development of a booklet that identifies people, places, and events and the sites that best represent them. With vivid photographs and descriptive narrative, it delineates trails in those themes.

Phase Two is the development of a digital story map--an interactive tool that uses GPS data on your mobile devices or computer. This allows the user to read about sites while in the field, follow the trails we have established, or develop their own trails on-the-go.

Phase three is the development of signage placed at the most significant sites to help tourists identify locations featured in the booklet and story map.

This initiative is sponsored in part by the Maryland Heritage Area Authority, The Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenway, and Harford County Government.

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