Anthony Cohen, on the Underground Railroad
Historian and author Anthony Cohen, who has traveled thousands of miles by foot, boat and rail to trace the steps of runaway slaves on the Underground Railroad, presented the Chevy Chase Historical Society’s spring lecture on Thursday, March 19, 2009 at the Chevy Chase Village Hall, 5906 Connecticut Avenue.
The Silver Spring, MD native began exploring the history of the secret network of people and places that helped fugitive slaves escape to freedom when he embarked on a two-month trek from Sandy Spring, MD to Amherstburg, Ontario, in 1996. Since then, he has continued his Underground Railroad reenactments, culminating last summer when he followed the route of his great-great grand uncle’s 1849 journey from Savannah, GA, to freedom in Canada. Cohen recalls this journey in a documentary film, “Patrick & Me: A Personal Journey on the Underground Railroad,” to be released this year.
Cohen calls the Underground Railroad “…one of the most positive aspects of our heritage, although it grew out of one of the most insidious chapters in our history.” To build awareness of the Railroad’s importance, he has served as a consultant to the National Parks Conservation Association, Maryland Public Television and NASA. He is founder and president of The Menare Foundation, Inc., which is restoring Button Farm at Seneca Creek State Park as a living history center. The Foundation also leads tours of Underground Railroad landmarks in Montgomery County.