Black History Month provides additional opportunities to highlight contributions by African-Americans to our national history and culture. Throughout the month, Amtrak is celebrating with various events and exhibitions at locations across the country. Amtrak is proud that in October 2014 a site on railroad property near Perryville, Md., was accepted into the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom, a program of the National Park Service (NPS). Perryville is located on the busy Northeast Corridor (NEC) between the stops at Aberdeen, Md., and Newark, Del.
The Underground Railroad was a network for those with or without assistance who used resources at hand to escape slavery and find a means to head north to the free states or Canada during the antebellum years. The NPS established the Network to Freedom to connect more than 500 local historic sites, museums, archives and interpretive programs related to the Underground Railroad. The Perryville Railroad Ferry and Station site is located close to where the eastern end of the Susquehanna River Rail Bridge joins the embankment carrying the tracks. Since colonial times, Perryville and Havre de Grace, its sister town located on the opposite bank, have constituted an important crossing point at the meeting of the Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay. In the late 17th century, what is now Perryville was known as Lower Ferry in recognition of its important role in the local transportation network –
Editor’s Note: Last year, Independent Scholar and Historian Milt Diggins worked with the National Park Service to nominate the Perryville Railroad Station/Ferry site and the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal for inclusion in the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. Milt has written a book that examines the story of a slave catcher and kidnapper working this region in the decades leading up to the Civil War. The title will be released in 2015.