Sunday, May 11, 2014

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

On our layover day today, we moved out of our posh hotel rooms (3 miles of cycling, plus 3.75 more miles to go out to dinner at the end of the day) and shuttled in the van into Cincinnati to visit the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. 

The center opened 10 years ago, and has 158,000 square feet of space. 

It is located in Little Africa, formerly a community populated by free blacks, and is only a block away from the Cincinnati Reds' ballpark. 

Here is an enormous set of quilts that depict scenes from black history:

This is the view across the river from the center's balcony. There are still-standing slave quarters behind the antebellum houses along the riverfront on the opposite shore. So close, yet so far away. 

Here is our tour guide, Carl Westmoreland, a passionate and well-informed founder of the center:

This is the interior of an actual slave pen, where slaves were chained and held before and after slave auctions. 

We also visited an outdoor park in honor of the Black Brigade. 

Cincinnati's Union Army brigades were in Shiloh when the Confederates won a battle in Richmond, Kentucky, opening the door to Cincinnati. Black men volunteered to build forts and defend Cincinnati--using picks and shovels. 

During the afternoon, while some of us visited some non-UGRR museums, others of us went to a Cincinnati Reds game. It's a beautiful park, overlooking the Ohio River. 

Notice the corner of Johnny Bench Way and Pete Rose Street. 

I had a great view from my nose-bleed $14 seat:

I could see barges going by on the river:

Great day! Oh, and the Cincinnati Reds beat the Colorado Rockies 4-1. 

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