Educational Resources for Through Darkness to Light: Photographs Along the Underground Railroad

General Resources:

National Park Service, Network of Freedom: National Underground Railroad Sites: Download the  comprehensive list of Network to Freedom members/ Underground Railroad sites (as of Fall 2015)

Article: Overview of Underground Railroad sites in Illinois from the Daily Herald: “Suburbs Home to Underground Railroad Landmarks” by Mick Zawislak.

Library of Congress, “Voices From the Days of Slavery,” features recorded interviews with formerly enslaved people (MP3 and Wav files)

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Cincinnati Ohio

Underground Railroad Glossary.* Download the pdf: education-and-programming-resources-glossary

Underground Railroad Timeline.* Download the pdf: educator-resources-timeline

More Online Resources.* Download the pdf:  exhibition-reference-materials-online-resources

Lesson Plans & Materials:

Teaching with Images:

Evanston History Center, Analyzing Photographs: Developing Visual Literacy, A Lesson Plan. Download the pdf: analyzing-photographs-lesson-plan

“Reading and Researching Photographs” by Helena Zinkham, from the Library of Congress. Download the pdf: reading_researching_photographs

White into Black: Seeing Race, Slavery, and Anti-Slavery in Antebellum America, Sarah L. Burns, Indiana University and Joshua Brown, The Graduate Center, CUNY

From Darkness to Light: Lesson Plan on Photographs*: Download the pdf: from-darkness-to-light-photographs-lesson-plan-on-photographs

Teaching the Underground Railroad:

Teaching the Underground Railroad (a variety of multi-grade lesson plans and resources.)

Lesson Plan: Plotting a Personal Path,* (Grades 6-8). Download the pdf: educator-resources-lesson-idea-plotting-a-personal-path-grade-levels-6-8

8th Grade Curriculum Education Program, from the Lincoln home in Springfield, IL, a NPS site.

Scholastic Resources, includes lesson plans, maps:

Lesson Plan: “Write a Secret Letter:”

Lesson Plan: “Growing Up in Slavery:”

Lesson Plan: “Harriet Tubman Web Hunt: Leading the Way to Freedom:”

Discussion Topics.* Download the pdf: education-and-programming-resources-discussion-topics

True Stories Told—Slave Narratives.* Download the pdf: true-stories-told-slave-narratives

Reading List:

(Content Note: some early sources use language that is no longer considered acceptable in modern society. Racist, sexist, and otherwise offensive terms are present in many of these older sources.)

General Reading List (adults and young readers)* Download the pdf: reading-list-for-from-darkness-to-light

19th century sources. Free Online:

Bradford, Sarah Hopkins. Free Scenes in the Life of Harriet Tubman (1869)

Bradford, Sarah Hopkins. Harriet, the Moses of Her People (1897)

Coffin, Levi. Reminiscences of Levi Coffin, the Reputed President of the Underground (1876)

Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave (1846)

Douglass, Frederick. My Bondage and My Freedom (1855)

Mitchell, William M. The Underground Railroad (1860)

Siebert, Wilbur Henry. The Underground Railroad from Slavery to Freedom (1898) Includes references to Illinois on the Underground Railroad.

Pettit, Eber M. Sketches in the History of the Underground Railroad (1879)

20th and 21st-Century Sources:

Foner, Eric. Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad (2015)

Petry, Ann. Harriet Tubman: Conductor on the Underground Railroad

Still, William. The Underground Railroad: Authentic Narratives and First-Hand Accounts (2007)

Still, William. The Underground Railroad: A Record (2016)

Whitehead, Colson, The Underground Railroad (2016)


The Underground Railroad, documentary (45 min)

Unchained Memories, 2003 (HBO, filmed readings of narratives of enslaved people, 1 hour, 13 min.)

Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad, National History Day Documentary, 2016, 10 min.

Other Sites and Sources:

Lombard Historical Society and Sheldon Peck Homestead, 355 E. Parkside in Lombard, Illinois

Sheldon Peck used his homestead in Babcock’s Grove (now Lombard) to help Underground Railroad travelers. He was a radical abolitionist as were many of the townspeople in the area. In August 2011, the Sheldon Peck Homestead was inducted into the Network to Freedom – a list of verified Underground Railroad locations. Staff and volunteers worked over several years researching the Underground Railroad, genealogy and property lines near the Homestead, and Sheldon Peck’s art. The Lombard Historical Society has partnered with the Evanston History Center to host photographer Jeanine Michna-Bales in February 2017.

“The Secret History of the Underground Railroad.” Eric Foner on the Underground Railroad (The Atlantic, March 2015)

*From The Programming Guide for Through Darkness to Light: Photographs Along the Underground Railroad @2016 ExhibitsUSA, a national program of Mid-America Arts Alliance