Underground Railroad

Sojourner Truth & Talking to Ashes

Sojourner Truth was once told that if she dared to preach, the building where she spoke would be burned. The famous abolitionist responded, "Then I will speak to the ashes." You gotta love it. This past...

Where Book Covers Come From–Part 1

When I did a presentation at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati last fall, one of the people at the museum said jokingly, "The women here were wondering if the man on...
Image of the cover of the first issue of Peterson Pilgrim Magazine

Ordinary Objects, Extraordinary Stories: Introducing ‘Peterson Pilgrim’ Magazine

A letter that helped to convict a Nazi war criminal… A squeegee handle that saved the lives of half a dozen people on 9/11… A set of stairs that saved hundreds more… These ordinary objects played a...

‘The Vanishing Woman’ is off the Press!

My new novel, The Vanishing Woman, has just come off the press--although I haven't received my copies just yet. The Vanishing Woman is based on the incredible true story of Ellen Craft, a light-skinned slave...

Ellen’s Disguise

Jennifer Goran, a Champaign actress, did her first presentation this past week as Ellen Craft, the slave who escaped in 1848 by posing as a white man. Jennifer did a marvelous job bringing Ellen...

Frederick Douglass: ‘A War Upon the Immortal Spirit’

Frederick Douglass, the famed orator and abolitionist, saw his life change in one afternoon in 1833. Learn about his incredible battle with an overseer--a struggle that changed a slave into a man, he said. Click...

Meet the Vanishing Woman Highlights

Ellen's teeth chattered, and she pulled the thin blanket around her shoulders. She was cold, and she was terrified. In the dim glow of a single candle, she sat on a stool and watched...

The New Abolitionists

Going Out on a Limb to Stop a Fast-Growing Crime: Modern Slavery   Miller McKim would never forget the day that a Richmond shoemaker named Samuel Smith showed up at his Philadelphia office with a most...

Crossing the Jordan–in Ohio

To many abolitionists, the Ohio River was the North's Jordan River, providing access to the Promised Land. The Ohio River was the dividing line between North and South, making it an important crossing point for...

Henry ‘Box’ Brown on CBS

Happy Henry Day! This week marks the 166th anniversary of Henry Brown's amazing escape from slavery. On March 23, 1849, Henry Brown was sealed inside a wooden box, 3 feet by 2 feet by 2-1/2...