Saturday, July 15, 2017

History Day Bus Tour

Sometimes, I can't remember if I wrote about a thing. Or if I only intended to. And since I LIVE ALL OF THESE BLOG POSTS...there often isn't much of a line in my head.

I often write about the great programs I attend in this area -- most of them are put on by the community college.  This spring, I signed up for a "bus tour" that would visit locations in our area that were stops on the underground railroad during the Civil War.

If I didn't report it at the time -- I SHOULD HAVE...and, well, maybe I already did.... 
We started the day off at the Antoine LeClaire house.  A local historian (Karen Anderson) gave a brief lecture inside before we got on the bus.
Largely due to Karen's efforts in the 70's, this house has been saved from demolition.  And now serves a wonderful local history center in the community.
We got on this beautifully equipped tour bus for our all-day excursion.
Honestly -- these seats were very comfortable.  And the views out the windows were terrific!
At most of the stops, there wasn't actually anything to see or do.  But Karen would tell us about the people who lived in that house or on that farm in 1850...and what their role was in helping slaves to escape from the South...
My cousin, Linda, went with me.  We stopped for a boxed lunch at a Rest Stop on I-80.
You cannot do an Eastern Iowa history tour without visiting Herbert Hoover's Museum.
Although he didn't have anything to do with the Underground Railroad...he was a Quaker, and they were big players.
Karen was telling us about the Quakers who lived in and around West Branch, Iowa.
We went into the Quaker church...
It was a beautiful day to be touring Eastern Iowa. I learned a lot of things I had NO CLUE about...and it is sad that we lose so much. History, I mean. We have very little connection with those who came before us. What their lives were like, how hard things were. How much turmoil there was.

The world we live in can feel messed up and discouraging...and then, you spend a day looking at what it was like for YOUR ANCESTORS.  We visited places where people lived in constant fear, afraid of their next door neighbors.  The law of the land required you to turn in a runaway slave, and if you helped them escape, you could be arrested, jailed, and lose your own property and livelihood.

For me -- history provides a perspective.  After that day of following the underground railroad route in Iowa, I saw my own life through a different lens.

We've come a long way.  And I am grateful. 

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