Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Freedom Center given $1.1M by U.S. agency



By Carl Weiser
Enquirer Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON - The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center will get another $1.1 million from the U.S. Department of Education to help train researchers, identify underground railroad sites and put on conferences and lectures.

"We're overjoyed," said Orloff Miller, director of Freedom Stations at the Freedom Center.

The money will go toward the Freedom Center's work with universities, schools, county historical societies and any other groups investigating the underground railroad.

The underground railroad was a national network of homes and hiding places slaves used to escape the South before and during the Civil War. The Ohio River was a dividing line between slave and free states, and Cincinnati was a key station.

Rep. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, announced the grant Monday.

The money was awarded under an Education Department program created in 1998 by Portman. It pays nonprofit groups to research artifacts and the history of the underground railroad.

Since the program was created, it has granted about $1 million every year to the Freedom Center.

The $110 million building is scheduled to open next year. About 50 people are already working for the center.

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E-mail cweiser@gns.gannett.com




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