The road to freedom opens

Andrew Wagstaff
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Exhibit to highlight African Heritage Month activities

The road to freedom opens

Amherst - The Underground Railway may not have come to Cumberland County, but its story continues to touch people here everyday.

The Underground Railway Exhibit: The Road to Freedom will be on display at Cumberland County Museum throughout the month of February, which is known in Canada as African Heritage Month.

The exhibit was put together in the fall of 2006 by local artist Darlene Strong and students from Cornerstone Academy and the CCOSTAS, in partnership with the Department of African Nova Scotian Affairs.

We would hope that it would inform people and enlighten them as to the journey, said Strong. You can take any adverse situation and turn it around for good.

The students collected data through field trips, classroom studies and written materials to create a publication and a traveling exhibit with images, pictures, drawings, paintings, cutouts, recipes and songs. Collaborations were made with Strong to launch the exhibit, and remain to keep it ongoing and showcase the work of the students.

One student, Brady Colborne, even wrote a song as part of the project, No Whips, No Words, No Chains Can Hurt Me.

It was fun, said Brady, about the experience.

The exhibit was on display in New Brunswick at this time last year, according to Strong, who approached curator Shirley Nickerson about displaying it at the local museum.

Though Cumberland County was not part of the underground railway, it was the entry point for many people, whose names are still predominant throughout our area, said Nickerson. Some entered as slaves, servants and free Loyalists who were given land grants, making this event in history an important part of Cumberland Countys past.

The exhibit will be a highlight of local African Heritage Month activities, which will also include the launch of a new book providing a 10-year retrospective on black artisans in Cumberland County.

We want to inform the general public, said Strong. Historians, artists, and whoever is interested in learning more about our nation.

Organizations: The Underground Railway, Cumberland County Museum, Cornerstone Academy Department of African Nova Scotian Affairs

Geographic location: Cumberland County, Amherst, Canada New Brunswick

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