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Thursday, August 20, 2015 - 3:42pm

USA Today picks the John Rankin House as the "hidden gem" to visit in Ohio

A few days ago, USA Today posted an article about hidden gems to visit in each of the 50 states. The John Rankin House, a once very active Underground Railroad station was chosen as Ohio’s “hidden gem.” The home, located in Ripley, Ohio sits on a bluff overlooking the Ohio River. It was built in 1825 and belonged to abolitionist John Rankin, his wife Jean and their thirteen children. The family risked their lives to help free more than 2,000 escaped slaves.

This National Historic Landmark is one of the best-documented Underground Railroad stations. You can take a guided tour of the home and learn how the Rankin family, their neighbors and other nearby communities helped fugitives escape from slavery. During the tour you also learn about Ohio’s role in the abolitionist movement and how it set the stage for the end of slavery as well as the Civil Rights movement.

While visiting the Rankin House you can also enjoy the historic town of Ripley. You can walk Front Street and enjoy the sites and sounds of the Ohio River Scenic Byway. There are beautiful historic homes to see and great local restaurants to enjoy.

 

-Katie Johnstone
Marketing and Communications Intern

Related Content: Rev. John and Jean Rankin

More authored by Katie: World Day Against Trafficking In Persons,#FlameFriday:Toni Stone,  Planning your visit Friday, July 10Misty Copland- First African-American woman promoted at the American Ballet Theatre#FlameFriday: Remembering Officer Kim, and Freedmen's Bureau Indexing Campaign

 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015 - 4:39pm

International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition

Today the United Nations observes International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition. The day is meant to remind people of the tragedy of the transatlantic slave trade and give people a chance to think about the historic causes, the methods and the consequences of the slave trade. This day also pays tribute to those who worked hard to abolish slave trade and slavery throughout the world.

Here at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center you can learn about several people who fought to abolish slavery, like Quakers Catharine and Levi Coffin. The Coffins helped thousands of fugitive slaves to safety in Newport (now Fountain City), Indiana and Cincinnati, Ohio through the Underground Railroad.

The coffins became abolitionists when they moved to Newport and overheard stories about fugitive slaves in hiding. Many of the escaped slaves were often recaptured, so Levi Coffin and his wife decided they were going to help. Levi Coffin spread the word to the black community that he would hide slaves in his home. During the winter of 1826-1827 the Coffins provided shelter, transportation, food and clothing for the runaways. Word got around of what the Coffins were doing, and many in the town opposed to their actions. However, there were a few who were willing to risk their lives and join the fight. The coffins worked with the other abolitionists to create a more formal route that could move the slaves smoothly from stop to stop.

In 1839, the Coffins had a two-story, eight-room brick house built with several modifications to create better hiding places. The home became a point of convergence for three major escape routes from Madison and New Albany, Indiana and Cincinnati, Ohio. It is said that they helped as many as 2,000 runaways during the years they lived in Newport.

By 1847 the Coffins left Newport and moved to Cincinnati. They moved houses several times, until they found a home that could be used to continue their efforts of helping fugitive slaves. The large home they purchased had rooms that were rented out for boarding. With the constant flow of guests coming in and out, it was a perfect cover to create a station for the Underground Railroad. The Coffins continued to hide, feed and clothe runaways. Catharine Coffin started creating costumes in order to better disguise them. She dressed them as cooks, butlers and other household workers.  

As time went on, the Coffins focused on other ways of freeing slaves, but never gave up being abolitionists. They are known for leading so many slaves to freedom. Luckily, they were never caught for their great acts and passed away in the late 1800s due to natural causes. 

-Katie Johnstone
Marketing and Communications Intern

Image One: Levi and Catharine Coffin
Image Two: The Levi Coffin house used to hide fugitive slaves. 

More authored by Katie: World Day Against Trafficking In Persons,#FlameFriday:Toni Stone,  Planning your visit Friday, July 10Misty Copland- First African-American woman promoted at the American Ballet Theatre#FlameFriday: Remembering Officer Kim, and Freedmen's Bureau Indexing Campaign
 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015 - 4:57pm

Jeff Ruby hosts fundraiser for Sonny Kim's family

On Monday, August 24, Jeff Ruby will be hosting a fundraiser for Sonny Kim's family at The Precinct. The cost is $125.00 per person and 100% of the cost will be donated to the family. The food served will be all Ruby classics including USDA Prime Steaks, select sides, the famous Freddie Salad and more. You can make a reservation for this event by calling The Precinct or going to www.JeffRuby.com/Precinct.

This event is in addition to a two-month long donation campaign that is happening at Ruby's Cincinnati restaurants. On each receipt there is a special line where guests can donate to Kim's family.

Click here for more information.

Image one: The Precinct
Image Two: Sonny Kim and his family

More authored by Katie: World Day Against Trafficking In Persons,#FlameFriday:Toni Stone,  Planning your visit Friday, July 10Misty Copland- First African-American woman promoted at the American Ballet Theatre#FlameFriday: Remembering Officer Kim, and Freedmen's Bureau Indexing Campaign

Thursday, August 6, 2015 - 12:00am

50 Years Later: The Voting Rights Act of 1965

Today is the 50th anniversary of the passing of the Voting Rights Act.  The landmark legislation was signed into law by President Johnson during the height of the Civil Rights Movement, just months after the historic Selma to Montgomery march. The law was designed to enforce the thirteenth and fourteenth amendments, resulting in the mass enfranchisement of minorities throughout the country and the South, where black citizens were denied the right to vote by way of intimidation, literacy tests and other unjust practices.  

The Voting Rights Act was originally set to expire five years after its passing. However, congress would recognize the continued need for legislation that protected voting rights five more times; in 1970, 1975, 1982, 1992 and 2006. During those reviews, Congress either amended or added to various provisions in each renewal of the Voting Rights Act.

In 2013, the landmark U.S Supreme Court case Shelby County v. Holder, the court determined that section 4 (b), which established a formula to determine areas where racial discrimination had been more prevalent, was unconstitutional. The case argued that Congress exceeded its authority by re-authorizing the Voting Rights Act while relying on voting data more than 40 years old. The nation's reaction was one of shock and many voiced that the decision weakened the law's authority. Recently, President Obama called for the restoration of the section in the law, emphasizing the importance of legislation that protects the civil liberties of its citizens.

To commemorate this important anniversary, The Cincinnati Human Relations Commission (CHRC), National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (NURFC) and Cincinnati-Hamilton County Community Action Agency (CAA) are co-sponsoring commemorative march across the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge this Saturday, August 8 at 9 a.m. Leaders from each partnering organization spoke about the event on WVXU Cincinnati Edition

Marchers are invited to complete “I March for _____” response cards to raise awareness about what society is still marching for today. The response cards be turned into action items by local Cincinnati agencies, who will reconvene throughout the year and lead community discussions inspired by the response cards. The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center will host a program immediately following the march, featuring local activists and veteran activists, including Freedom Rider Betty Daniels Rosemond, addressing the topic: “Cincinnati 50 Years Ago”. Additionally, all are welcome to weigh in via Twitter by using the hashtag #IMarch4Cincy.  Learn more about the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in Power of the Vote, now on exhibit at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. 

Assia Johnson

Public Relations and Social Media Coordinator 

Images: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and civil rights activists leading thousands of nonviolent marchers on a 54-mile march from Selma to Montgomery.  Second Image: President Johnson with Martin Luther King, Jr. and civil rights leaders during the signing of the Voting Rights Act, August 6, 1965. 

Related Content: Picture FreedomPower of the Vote.

More authored by Assia: 50 Midwest Museums We LoveMother's Day Gift IdeasFlame FridayJimmie Lee JacksonMLK Day 2015

Wednesday, July 29, 2015 - 9:34pm

Sam DuBose: Black Lives Matter

The eyes of the nation are on Cincinnati. Today the Hamilton County Grand Jury returned an indictment for murder in the tragic shooting death of Samuel DuBose during a routine traffic stop just over one week ago. During that time the DuBose family has called repeatedly for only nonviolent responses while seeking answers from the criminal justice system.  That answer is now at hand and the family’s continued calls for nonviolent response to ensure that his peaceful way of life can be remembered purely should be respectfully honored. At the same time our community must continue to have open and transparent dialogue as we look deeper into our nation’s racial disparities and seek freedom and justice for all.  The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center stands ready to be a convener and provide a safe haven for these conversations. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the DuBose family during this difficult time. We echo their call for peace and join them in their belief that the judicial process will reflect integrity and yield a just outcome. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015 - 12:25pm

World Day Against Trafficking in Persons

In 2013, the General Assembly of the United Nations came together to dedicate a day to raising awareness about human trafficking and the situations of the victims involved and to promote and protect their rights. Today, July 30, is the day the General Assembly chose to make World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. The meeting also resulted in the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons, which gives grants to non-governmental organizations that provide direct assistance to victims from human trafficking.  

Human Trafficking is an unfortunate on-going issue that is happening all over the world.  It is estimated that 2.5 million people are trapped in modern-day slavery. Men, women and children are being treated as slaves within their own country and abroad. Traffickers use violence, deception, threats, and other manipulative tactics to trap victims into horrific situations against their will. The brutality and injustice these victims face shatter their lives and dreams.

There are five different types of human trafficking that this day raises awareness for:

1. Forced Labor- when human beings are forced to work for no pay or under the threat of violence.
2. Bonded Labor/Debt Labor- slavery in which an individual is compelled to work in order to repay a debt and cannot leave until the debt has been paid off.
3. Sex Slavery- when women, men or children are exploited in the commercial sex industry, which may include: prostitution, pornography, erotic entertainment, strip clubs, online escort services, hostess clubs, residential brothels or fake massage parlors.
4. Child Slavery- when children under the age of 18 are forced into child labor, which could be debt bondage, armies, prostitution, domestic work or other forms of hazardous work.
5. Domestic Servitude- when slaves are forced to work in extremely hidden workplaces and have no option of leaving.

Human trafficking tends to be an issue most people do not know about or completely understand. You can help be a part of the fight against human trafficking by learning how you can raise awareness in your community and globally. You can also learn more about human trafficking at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center by visiting the exhibit Invisible: Slavery Today.

Image Credit: UN website

Related Content:  Invisible: Slavery Today

More authored by Katie: Planning your visit Friday, July 10Misty Copland- First African-American woman promoted at the American Ballet Theatre#FlameFriday: Remembering Officer Kim, and Freedmen's Bureau Indexing Campaign

 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015 - 3:26pm

Freedom Center’s Hathaway debunks myths about human trafficking

Brooke Hathaway, manager of anti-trafficking programs for the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, recently wrote a post published on the International Human Trafficking Institute’s website addressing myths about modern-day human trafficking.

Hathaway is also the executive director of End Slavery Now, which advocates for awareness of human trafficking and seeks to inspire everyone to take the courageous steps against slavery today.

In the post, she calls out sensationalist social media posts for perpetuating the myths that trafficking is a crime of kidnapping, that trafficking is an impulsive crime, and that middle-class women and girls are the most vulnerable.

On the contrary, Hathaway explains, human trafficking is much more commonly based on trusting relationships between the trafficker and victim, which develop purposefully over time, and it disproportionately affects minorities and disadvantaged groups.

“While interest in human trafficking demonstrates growing awareness about the issue, it does not translate to any increased understanding of the human pain and tragedy,” she cautions, encouraging readers to gain deeper knowledge about the realities of trafficking. “Consequently, it does not result in any change in individuals’ behaviors or attitudes.”

Click here to read Hathaway’s piece and to watch an interview with her about these myths.

Elizabeth Cychosz 
Marketing and Communications Intern

Photo: Freedom Center Manager of Anti-Trafficking Programs Brooke Hathaway. Provided.

Related Content:  Invisible: Slavery Today

More authored by Elizabeth: Mason man recalls Tiananmen SquareDr. Newsome speaks at international conference in ParisWarren County Underground Railroad station honored with historical markerNHL selects first Chinese player14th Amendment Ratified on this Day, 1868,Former Auschwitz guard sentencedHonor Nelson Mandela this Sat with 67 min of service

Tuesday, July 21, 2015 - 12:26pm

OH Human Trafficking Task Force makes recommendations

Ohio plans to further improve services for victims of trafficking, the Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force announced in a report on Monday, July 20.

At the top of the priority list: faster access for victims to recovery services like shelters or drug treatments.

The report also outlines plans to increase public awareness and police access to information about tracking human trafficking, as well as a legal path for victims to have their records expunged of charges that came about as a result of being forced into the sex trade.

“Ohio’s progress in combating trafficking is both exciting and sobering,” wrote Ohio’s Anti-Trafficking Coordinator Elizabeth Ranade Janis in the introduction to the report. “More victims have access to justice and more offenders are being punished... However these efforts confirm what advocates already know—more victims will come out of the shadows of exploitation, more intensive law enforcement investigations will be necessary to lock up traffickers, and more trauma-informed care will need to be made available for survivors.”

The recommendations will be implemented by state-level and county-level departments and officials, like the Department of Medicaid, the Attorney General’s Office, and the Department of Job and Family Services.

Three years ago, the task force made 26 other recommendations, almost all of which have been put into place by now. For example, in 2012 the state penalty for human trafficking was upgraded to a first-degree felony, which can come with up to 15 years in prison.

The report estimates roughly one thousand children – mostly young girls between 13 and 18 years of age – are forced into sex trafficking in Ohio each year. Other victims might be forced into sweatshop-like jobs.

Join the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center this Thursday at 3 p.m. for a gallery talk on modern-day human trafficking with representatives from End Slavery Now.

Elizabeth Cychosz 
Marketing and Communications Intern

Related Content:  Invisible: Slavery Today

More authored by Elizabeth: Mason man recalls Tiananmen SquareDr. Newsome speaks at international conference in ParisWarren County Underground Railroad station honored with historical markerNHL selects first Chinese player14th Amendment Ratified on this Day, 1868, Former Auschwitz guard sentenced, Honor Nelson Mandela this Sat with 67 min of service

Wednesday, July 15, 2015 - 10:50am

Former Auschwitz guard sentenced

This Wednesday, July 15, former Auschwitz guard Oskar Gröning was sentenced to four years in prison for being an accessory to the deaths of 300,000 people in “what could be one of the last big Holocaust trials.” The 94-year-old German has been on trial in the northern German city of Lüneburg since April.

The death camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau in Nazi-occupied Poland claimed the lives of 1.1 million people, mostly Jews, during its operation from 1942 to 1945. Gröning’s trial focused mostly on the period from May to July 1944, during which 137 trains brought 425,000 people to Auschwitz and at least 300,000 were killed in the gas chambers.

During the trial proceedings, Gröning testified that he sorted through the belongings of arriving Jews after they went through the selection process that ended with many being sent to their deaths in the gas chambers. His task was to find valuables, particularly banknotes, to help fund the Nazi regime.

The trial speaks to a question that courts have grappled with since the end of the Second World War: how much guilt the legal system can place on people who acted as small cogs within massive human rights violations like the Holocaust. In 2011, German courts set a precedent that death camp guards can be charged as an accessory to murders committed there, even if that guard is not linked to any specific death. Gröning said he accepts moral guilt but said early on in the trial that he would leave it up to the court to decide his legal guilt.

Earlier this year, the Freedom Center hosted Unlocking the Gates of Auschwitz 70 Years Later, which featured the stories of two survivors of the death camp: Werner Coppel and Bella Ouziel. Auschwitz’s history of systemic and organized genocide provides a start warning and call to action for those today to stand up against injustice, inhumanity and genocide.

Elizabeth Cychosz 
Marketing and Communications Intern

Related Content:  Unlocking the Gates of Auschwitz 70 Years Later

More authored by Elizabeth: Mason man recalls Tiananmen SquareDr. Newsome speaks at international conference in ParisWarren County Underground Railroad station honored with historical markerNHL selects first Chinese player, 14th Amendment Ratified on this Day, 1868

 

Thursday, July 9, 2015 - 9:24am

Planning Your Visit Friday, July 10

This Friday, July 10, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center will be closing early due to a private event. The museum will open at 11am, but will close early at 3 pm.  All exhibits will remain open to the public and the daily experience activities will continue as scheduled:

11:00am-2:30pm: Family/Youth programs- Create your own baseball cap.
11:00am-4:00pm: Discovery Your Family Roots: Genealogy
11:30am: Stories by the Mound- Baseball Saved Us
11:00am-12:00pm: Highlights Tour
1:00pm: Historical Re-enactor
1:30pm: Stories by the Mound- I am Jackie Robinson
2:30pm: Historical Re-enactor
 

For more details about each event please see the calendar.  

Katie Johnstone
Marketing and Communications Intern

More authored by Katie: Misty Copland- First African-American woman promoted at the American Ballet Theatre, #FlameFriday: Remembering Officer Kim, and Freedmen's Bureau Indexing Campaign

 

 

 

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