Freedom Roads

Freedom Roads is a statewide trail system designed to recognize the roads, rivers and ports in North Carolina that were crucial to the efforts of enslaved African Americans seeking freedom, and to those groups and individuals who supported and assisted their efforts. This program will highlight the story of freedom seeking via the Underground Railroad as well as avenues of liberation created during the Civil War. The maritime and land routes of Freedom Roads will tell the story of documented sites that have evidence of high and/or exceptional runaway activity, including colonial towns, ports, rivers, plantations, Quaker communities, Union occupied territories, contraband camps, and freedmen’s colonies and settlements. Documented sites include designations in the National Park Service’s Network to Freedom (NTF) Underground Railroad program as well as other sites and routes recognized by historians and/or archaeologists as significant to African American freedom seeking.

Freedom Roads is a collaborative program between:

The African American Heritage Commission

The North Carolina Arts Council

The Office of Archives and History

The North Carolina Museum of History

State Library of North Carolina

North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources


The African American Heritage Commission, the N.C. Arts Council, the Office of Archives and History, and the N.C. Museum of History, will host a series of four one-day workshops as training for both museum professionals and classroom teachers in the best methods for presenting Freedom Roads stories to students and the visiting public. These workshops will be located at four of the trail sites and will focus primarily on that site’s freedom seeking story, how to use the curriculum, how to talk about slavery in the classroom, and how to use the cultural site/museum as a classroom itself.

The workshops are scheduled for the summer of 2014 and 2015 at sites throughout North Carolina that played a role in enslaved African American’s journey to freedom. In 2014, workshops are planned to be held at Guildford College (June 13th) and Historic Halifax (August 4th). In the summer of 2015, workshops are planned to be held at Stagville State Historic Site and at Tryon Palace in New Bern.

There are several goals associated with the Freedom Roads workshops:

  • To enhance content knowledge of participants about the efforts of enslaved people in North Carolina seeking freedom.
  • To dispel myths and historical inaccuracies about the Underground Railroad and other attempts of seeking freedom.
  • To provide working museum professionals the ability to learn alongside classroom teachers to enhance their ability to create useful classroom resources.
  • To allow museum professionals the ability to enhance their interpretive techniques.
  • To provide a venue where classroom teachers and museum professional can network, learn, and work collaboratively to create new and innovative ways to inform students, and museum/cultural site visitors, about the history, culture, and legacy of the Underground Railroad and the efforts of enslaved people in North Carolina to seek freedom.

For more information about Freedom Roads contact Schree Chavdarov