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» Underground Railroad Network to Freedom

What is the National Park Service's National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program?

Public Law 105-203 the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Act of 1998 directs the National Park Service (NPS), to establish a program that tells the story of resistance against the institution of slavery in the United States through escape and flight. This story is illustrative of a basic founding principle of this Nation, that all human beings embrace the right to self-determination and freedom from oppression. Through this National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program, NPS is demonstrating the significance of the Underground Railroad not only in the eradication of slavery, but as a cornerstone of our national civil rights movement.

The Program is coordinating preservation and education efforts nationwide, and is working to integrate local historical sites, museums, and interpretive programs associated with the Underground Railroad into a mosaic of community, regional, and national stories. For more information about this program and to access the database of Network sites, click here.

Mount Clare was built over 250 years ago on a hill overlooking the Patapsco River and Baltimore, MD, by Charles Carroll, Barrister. Today it is surrounded by the 30-acre Carroll Park; but it was once the hub of an agricultural plantation of 800 acres and one of the largest industrial complexes in America, the Baltimore Iron Works. Over 200 enslaved African Americans worked for Carroll at the Baltimore Iron Works, at the Mount Clare plantation and other Carroll properties. In the last half of the 18th century, there are at least four documented instances of freedom seekers escaping from these sites. Maryland's enslaved individuals had an uncommonly good setting for attempting escapes. For the Carroll's enslaved workforce an escape route via Baltimore was literally at their back door, only 5 miles distant. Baltimore's location, just over 40 miles from Pennsylvania induced many freedom seekers to travel there in an effort to make their way to the free states. Many others stayed, finding employment in the businesses and industries in the city and shelter with Baltimore's large free African American community.

In 2005 Mount Clare Museum House was registered with the National Park Service as a site on the National Underground Network to Freedom. A Trail marker can be found on the grounds just outside the forecourt of the mansion. To view the Trail Marker click here.

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