GREENSBORO, N.C.-- Guilford County was the backdrop of some of the first movements in the Underground Railroad 200 years ago. On Saturday, it was standing room only as the Guilford County community came together to remember and learn more about the Underground Railroad.
- It’s the 200th anniversary of the first helping of someone onto the secret Underground Railroad.
- Attendees paid respects to the graves of the people who helped lead the movement near Guilford College.
- Attendees got a tour of the Quaker Graveyard and New Garden Woods.
"We heard that it got shared on social media. And this is what social media does,” said Gertrude Beal.
Beal wrote the book , The Underground Railroad in Guilford County. She was one of the speakers teaching neighbors about the important history that happened right here.
"It’s the 200th anniversary of the first helping of someone onto the secret Underground Railroad,” Beal explained. “These people that were brought here, they were enslaved. We often hear the term slaves. They were enslaved. And this was very wrong. And Quakers, and others, knew this. And this is how, we don’t treat people like this. This is not how you treat your fellow person. So, this is a reminder to be good to all.”
Attendees paid respects to the graves of the people who helped lead the movement, near Guilford College.
Several of the conductors, people that helped with the Underground Railroad, are actually buried out there. The Coffin family, in particular.
Beal says we should be proud that this history-changing movement happened in our backyard, and learn about it as much as possible. Neighbors agree.
"Because people who do not know history are condemned to repeat it,” said 12-year-old Elijah Mbuvi.
"The history of slavery is one that is a painful one,” said attendee Andrew Mbuvi. “Yes, painful memories, sometimes people want to forget them. But the truth is, being reminded of the pain of the past will help us to avoid it in the present and the future."
Mbuvi says even hundreds of years later, we still have a lot of work to do as a society. He says the fact that there were so many different people from different backgrounds in that room says a lot about the steps the community has made, and continues to make.
“Even given the current atmosphere in this country today, we still need to find ways to live together and understand one another. And to find ways of connecting. Having to come together to look at this past and to celebrate this past, is an important step for all of us to make as a community. Especially considering this happened here in our community. So coming together and connecting with it is vital,” he said.
Attendees got a tour of the Quaker Graveyard, and New Garden Woods. Both are listed on the National Parks Service's 'Trail to Freedom' Maps.