Dedication of Bibb Escapes/Gatewood Plantation
& J. C Barnett Library and Archives
to the National Park Service
National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom
July 15 & 16 2016
Left to Right: Sheri Jackson, National Park Service; Glen Fisher, property owner; Dr. Afua Cooper, Delhousie University; Oldham County Judge Ex. David Voegele; Jeannine Kreinbrink, Archaeologist, K&V Cultural Resources Mgt, Doug VonStroh, Archaeologist, K&V Cultural Resources Mgt; Dr. Nancy Theiss, Ex. Director, Oldham County Historical Society.
Reporter Ann Bowden of WLKY Channel 32 interviews Dr. Afua Cooper at the Bibb Escapes/Gatewood Plantation site outside of Bedford, Ky. Dr. Cooper is the James Robinson Johnston Chair in Black Canadian Studies, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada. Dr. Cooper dounded the Black Canadian Studies Association and wrote her dissertation on Henry Bibb. She is an author and poet and has received numerous awards for her writing and research.
Ribbon cutting for the dedication of the J. C. Barnett Library & Archives of the Oldham County History Center into the National Park Service National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom on July 16, 2016. Left to righ FRONT ROWt: County Judge Ex. David Voegele; Sheri Jackson, National Park Service National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom; Mayor of LaGrange, Joe Davenport; Back Row: Dr. Theiss, Oldham County History Center; Carrider "Rita" Jones, author, poet & playwright; Dr. Afua Cooper, University of Delahousie and Jeannine Kreinbrink, Archaeologist.
On July 15 and 16 the Oldham County History Center celebrated its dedication into the National Park Service National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. The Bibb Escapes/Gatewood Plantation received a "site" designation and the J. C. Barnett Library & Archives of the Oldham County History Center received a "facility" designation. "We are the only facility site designation in Kentucky" said Dr. Nancy Theiss, Ex. Director of the Oldham County Historical Society. "Both of these designations will allow us to act as a tourism attraction for those interested in the Underground Railroad and learning about the freedom seekers in our state and the Underground Railroad conductors who at great risk, sought to abolish the institution of slavery."
As a designation the Oldham County History Center can participate in the National Park Service passport program and offer special Junior Ranger programs. "We are very proud to be a part of this program and are bursting with ideas on educational initiatives to engage more people in learning about our local history" stated Theiss.
The $2 million campus renovation campaign for the history center is now underway and the history center is planning to re-open its museum in January 2017. Special exhibits are being planned to include programs on the Underground Railroad.
Dr. Cooper addresses crowd at the dedication of the J. C. Barnett Library & Archives at the Oldham County History Center to the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. Dr. Cooper is the James Robinson Johnston Chair for Black Canadian Studies at the University of Dalhousie in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Her PhD concentrated on the life of Henry Bibb and his contributions to the abolitionist movement. She is the recicpient of several academic, national and international awards for her scholarly and creative work. Her book The Hanging of Anelique: The Untold Story of Canadian Slavery and the Burning of Old Montreal is a national bestseller and finalist in the Govenor General's Literary Awards of the Canada Council for the Arts. Dr. Cooper was named by Essence Magazine as one of the 25 women who are shaping the world.