National Underground Railroad Freedom Center


The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is a bridge between the past and the present, where the lessons of the Underground Railroad inform the continuing fight for inclusive freedom today.

Through our nation’s early history, the banks of the Ohio River formed a natural barrier that separated the brilliance of freedom and the darkness of enslavement. Across this River Jordan, against all odds and every peril, freedom seekers reclaimed their future. 

Upon its opening in 2004, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center filled a void in our nation’s cultural heritage. The museum explores and reframes America’s history through the lens of the African American perspective – a story that originated in 1619, followed by centuries of oppression rooted in a national economic system built on chattel enslavement. Rooted in the stories of the Underground Railroad, the Freedom Center illuminates the true meaning of inclusive freedom and equips modern day abolitionists with knowledge and resources.

Through five exhibits and museum experiences and accompanying films, guests meet the courageous individuals who fled enslavement seeking freedom through the clandestine trails and safehouses of the Underground Railroad. Among the museum experiences is a gallery dedicated to ongoing modern-day slavery and authentic slave pen recovered from Northern Kentucky, a solemn reminder of how close we still are to this period in history. 

Today, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center stands as a beacon of freedom on the very ground where so many people first felt free, perpetually offering all people a more free future.

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