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100 Church Women United Members Visit Campus

Group Hears Larry Gara Speak on Underground Railroad

March 30, 2012

Members of Church Women United filled the McCoy Room to hear Larry Gara speak on the Underground Railroad March 29.

Members of Church Women United filled the McCoy Room to hear Larry Gara speak on the Underground Railroad March 29.

More than 100 members of the Columbus-based Church Women United spent the afternoon on campus March 29 on a tour that included learning about the Underground Railroad from one of the nation’s experts.

Larry Gara, emeritus professor of history, spoke on his classic book on the Underground Railroad, The Liberty Line, which debunks a number of myths regarding the road to freedom for enslaved persons in the 19th century.

Gara said more credit is due to the fugitive slaves themselves and the African-Americans that helped them, an idea that is contrary to many previous popular writings that credited white Americans in the North almost exclusively with helping the fugitives on their way to freedom in Canada and northern states prior to the end of the Civil War.

Church Women United's Jeannette Gauche introduces Larry Gara.

Gara was quick to mention that a number of white Americans were helpful as well, including many Quakers. His book was first published in the early 1960s and has gone through several reprints. John F. Kennedy added that volume to the permanent White House Library.

Also, while the Church Women were on campus, they learned about the work of the Peace Resource Center from Jim Boland, director and professor of education and curator Ruth Dobyns presented a lecture on Quakers and Quakerism along with a tour of the Meriam R. Hare Quaker Heritage Center.