Footsteps To Freedom

Footsteps To Freedom Since 1997 the Black Voice Footsteps To Freedom Underground Railroad Study Tour has retraced the steps of early freedom seekers from enslavement to freedom.

Since 1997 the Black Voice Foundation has organized the Footsteps To Freedom Underground Railroad Study Tour teaching educators and others interested in learning more about one of America's most powerful freedom movements. Hundreds of teachers, administrators and parents from San Bernardino, Moreno Valley and Victorville have taken this life changing tour. They come back energized, engaged and ready to affect change in the lifes of African American students.

Operating as usual

Amherstburg Freedom Museum

Amherstburg Freedom Museum

#OTD in 1833 An Act for the Abolition of Slavery throughout the British Colonies, including Canada, received Royal Assent. #DYK this Act took effect on August 1, 1834, but only resulted in the partial emancipation of those enslaved? This is because it only freed children under the age of six, while others remained as apprentices for four to six years.

What this law did do was introduce Canada as free soil for African Americans escaping enslavement in the US, resulting in the mass movement of approximately 30,000 to 40,000 freedom seekers to Canada and places such as #Amherstburg where they found safety in the Nazrey A.ME. Church. #windsoressex #localhistory

Be A King

August 28th, 1963

My father spoke these words 57 years ago today. Still relevant. Still urgent:

“America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked insufficient funds. But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt.”


A member of the Wilberforce University family...
Bayard Rustin: The Man Who Organized The March On Washington

A member of the Wilberforce University family...

The strategist behind the 1963 march will posthumously receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom this year. As a gay man, his position in the movement was questioned. But now he is considered "an amazing role model" for activists of color who are also gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

On news of a presidential pardon for Susan B. Anthony on August 18, 2020 – The Official Susan B. Anthony Museum & House
On news of a presidential pardon for Susan B. Anthony on August 18, 2020 – The Official Susan B. Anthony Museum & House

On news of a presidential pardon for Susan B. Anthony on August 18, 2020 – The Official Susan B. Anthony Museum & House

On news of a presidential pardon for Susan B. Anthony on August 18, 2020 Posted on August 18, 2020 by Victoria Brzustowicz Objection! Mr. President, Susan B. Anthony must decline your offer of a pardon today. Anthony wrote in her diary in 1873 that her trial for voting was “The greatest outrage Hi...

Ohio History Connection

Ohio History Connection

On this day in 1856, Wilberforce University was established in Ohio. Wilberforce is the first private, historically-Black college (HBCU) in the U.S.

The institution was named by its founders after William Wilberforce, a prominent 18th century abolitionist. During the American Civil War, attendance declined as many students enlisted in the Union army. Wilberforce University closed in 1862.

In 1863, the African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church acquired ownership of the university. Under the direction of Daniel Payne, a bishop in the church, John Mitchell, the principal of a school in Cincinnati, and James Shorter, an African Methodist Episcopal pastor from Zanesville, Ohio, Wilberforce reopened its doors . In 1887, the State of Ohio began providing Wilberforce with funds to help finance the institution, which brought to an end the university's exclusively private status. The state also helped the university create a Normal and Industrial Department that eventually evolved into Central State University.

This photo from the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center shows Wilberforce students posing on stage with a series of musical instruments. It was likely taken in the late 1890s.

The Ohio based Barons Bus is the first U.S. motorcoach operator to install FAR UV Lighting in its vehicles.  The fixture...
Barons Bus sees UV light as ‘the best way’ to disinfect coaches - Bus & Motorcoach News

The Ohio based Barons Bus is the first U.S. motorcoach operator to install FAR UV Lighting in its vehicles. The fixtures are mounted inside the bus and continuously sanitize air with UV light.
Congratulations...JR!!! Let’s get ready to roll!!! #FootstepsToFreedom #safety1st

Company executives say the technology continuously disinfects against viruses and bacteria and is safe for humans and animals.

As unlikely as it might seem, that boy, Daniel Smith, is still alive at 88, a member of an almost vanished demographic: ...
At 88, he is a historical rarity — the living son of a slave

As unlikely as it might seem, that boy, Daniel Smith, is still alive at 88, a member of an almost vanished demographic: The child of someone once considered a piece of property instead of a human being.

Long after leaving Massies Mill, Va., and moving up North as a young man in his 20s, Smith’s father, Abram Smith, married a woman who was decades younger and fathered six children. Dan, the fifth, was born in 1932 when Abram was 70. Only one sibling besides Dan — Abe, 92 — is still alive.

As the child of someone once considered a piece of property instead of a human being, Daniel Smith is a flesh-and-blood reminder that slavery wasn't that long ago

Be A King

Be A King

#CTVivian and #JohnLewis have journeyed on together. Two great vessels for the work of justice, including for voting rights for Black people in America. It’s not happenstance that, in this critical hour, with so much on the line in November, their lives are lifted high.

Paulette Brown-Hinds, publisher of Black Voice News in California, views location intelligence as key to producing deepl...
Publisher Fuels Corporate Social Responsibility with Equity and Inclusion

Paulette Brown-Hinds, publisher of Black Voice News in California, views location intelligence as key to producing deeply researched articles to inform the public, empower the voiceless, and spur social change.

Through her family’s Black Voice Foundation, Brown-Hinds also shares GIS strategies with other news outlets and promotes location intelligence as a valuable job skill for minority students (see sidebar).
Community Advocacy in a Time of Need

The effort advances an increasingly popular form of journalism—one that uses data and map-based visuals to enrich and enliven stories

Paulette Brown-Hinds uses location intelligence to spur community action and improve the economic future of smaller news outlets and minority students.

Amherstburg Freedom Museum

Amherstburg Freedom Museum

#OTD in 1793 the Act to Limit Slavery in Upper Canada receives Royal Assent which prevented the further introduction of enslaved persons into Upper Canada.

#DYK the bravery of an enslaved woman named Chloe Cooley precipitated this bill? Cooley resisted her enslaver violently trying to take her across the Niagara River to be sold in the US. Witnesses reported this act of brutality and it was her bravery that pushed Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe and Attorney General John White to introduce this bill.

Canadian slavery did not end with this Act considering it stated that enslaved persons in the province at the time the Act was passed would remain enslaved, while enslaved children born after 1793 would be freed when they reached the age of 25.

It was not until August 1, 1834 with the Slavery Abolition Act that slavery was officially abolished in the British Colonies, including Canada. #CanadianHistory


“Lift Every Voice and Sing" was written at a pivotal time, when Jim Crow was replacing slavery and African-Americans were searching for an identity. Author and activist James Weldon Johnson wrote the words as a poem, which his brother John then set to music.”


Lift ev'ry voice and sing
'Til earth and heaven ring
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty
Let our rejoicing rise
High as the list'ning skies
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea

Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun

Let us march on 'til victory is won


Buxton Museum

Buxton Museum

From all of us, to all of you - HAPPY CANADA DAY! Canada has served as a place for many to escape and find a life for themselves, in freedom, in peace and in prosperity. While there yet remained adversity for these freedom-seekers, we've seen within our own stories and the histories that we tell that there can still be a sense of unity and community even through the hardest times. Thank you all for following along with us, and we hope we can open our doors to you soon!

Ripley, Ohio.....
In Ohio, a Warrior Against Slavery

Ripley, Ohio.....

John Parker, a former slave, was a daring conductor on the Underground Railroad. His home in Ripley, Ohio, helps to tell his story.

Buxton Museum

Buxton Museum

Happy Tuesday everyone! Those of you who have visited the museum before, watched the movie, and have taken a guided tour into the cabin have likely heard of some of these rules before. But let’s continue looking at the early settlement life!

Although many of the new arrivals were either free-born or had earned their freedoms years before, they had not felt safe even in the northern states. Many of them had come to Canada with little more than the clothes on their back, and the safety of their families was the number one priority. In several cases, these freedom-seekers made it across the border with hired slaved-catchers just a few miles behind them. In some cases, though illegal by Canadian law, a determined slave catch might cross the border in hopes of retrieving their slave.

As the people seeking haven for them and their families began to arrive, they were met with a series of rules they were asked to agree upon prior of them being given a tract of land to settle upon. There were strict regulations for the running of the Settlement which may seem arbitrary to us now, but which probably were necessary for the new settlers to become self-supporting and self-reliant. For example, the consumption or selling of liquor was strictly forbidden within the Settlement.

Other strict rules followed. The land could be sold to Black only and had to remain in their hands for ten years or until paid for, whichever came first. It could not be rented or share-held. Each male settler was required to pay $12.50 down within the first year on a 50-acre farm, with the balance to be paid yearly in nine installments with six percent interest.

Later, even more rules regulating the houses were set up. Each house had to be at least 24x18x12 ft., with a porch across the front. Each was to be built at least 33 ft. away from the road, with a picket fence and a flower garden in the front area and a vegetable garden in the back. Prizes were given for the most attractive home, which were built from the logs of the trees that grew thick in the settlement itself.

Do you think you could have handled those rules? Do you think they did help the settlement in the long run? Let us know, and we will see you again tomorrow!

Buxton Museum

Buxton Museum

Happy Monday everyone and we hope you all had a fantastic Father’s Day yesterday! Today we’re continuing on with the story of the original fifteen settlers as well as the creation and early developments of the Elgin settlement itself!

In spite of the hesitation and outright antagonism shown towards the new Settlement, King continued to play carefully for life within this place of freedom. Contrary to widely held belief for the time, King knew whole well that Blacks were just as intellectually capable as any other human being. He theorized if Black children were given the same educational and economic opportunities as white children, they would become able to function and thrive in the world around them. He resolved to put this to the test; being both a teacher and a minister, King insisted that a Church and school must be among the first priorities for the settlement. Funds for the undertaking were raised in England, the northern United States, and in various areas throughout Canada West. The Elgin Association, at the time made up of both Black and white shareholders, was set up to give administrative as well as financial assistance.

The initial purchase of the land included 4,300 acres situated in the heart of the Raleigh township between the Thames River and Lake Erie. It was composed of dense bushland with valuable timber such as oak, maple and walnut and through which ran many small creeks and swampy areas. This land was surveyed and parcelled into lots of two hundred acres which usually were divided into fifty-acre farms. Later, this tract of land was extended to just over 9,000 acres – which is the size we know it to be today.

William King and his fifteen now former slaves arrived in November of 1849, his fifteen having stayed with King’s family in Ohio for the duration of much of this being sorted out and planned. However, they were not the first to arrive on the settlement. Instead, that honour goes to Isaac Riley (pictured), his wife, and their four children. They were the first of many others who, hearing about the settlement, began to arrive in great numbers. The controversy between the Larwill-King factions had been documented throughout district newspapers and headlines talking about the Settlement spread quite further than many could have likely imagined.

If you’d like to read more on Isaac Riley, you can check out his page on our website – linked below. And we hope to see you all tomorrow as we continue onto some of the early rules of the settlement; let’s see if you would have been able to follow them. See you then!

Footsteps To Freedom's cover photo

Footsteps To Freedom's cover photo

THANK YOU! for all that you do to educate tomorrows leaders.  We are offering you, 4 Graduate credit units for ALUMNI of...

THANK YOU! for all that you do to educate tomorrows leaders. We are offering you, 4 Graduate credit units for ALUMNI of Footsteps to Freedom, Underground Railroad tour.

We are excited to partner with you to further your education and experience teaching or leading with empathy. Accredited by the North Eastern Accreditation Association, and partnered with Cambridge College, Southern California, join us as we develop something new just for you.

Join us on this webinar to learn how alumni will be able to share what they have created to inspire and lead after returing from the Footsteps to Freedom tour.


Types of Projects
Professional Project: Teacher’s Manual or Curriculum Guide
Research Project
Creative Project
Ted Talk/PechaKucha

Footsteps to Freedom Underground Railroad tours Covid-19 updateIt is with great regret we announce the 2020 Footsteps to...

Footsteps to Freedom Underground Railroad tours Covid-19 update

It is with great regret we announce the 2020 Footsteps to Freedom, Underground Railroad study tour will be rescheduled to 2021. As with many communities, families, and businesses, we are equally impacted by the Covid -19 pandemic. We believe that the health and safety of our educators and their families is of the utmost importance right now. We are listening to the Medical and Scientific communities on when it will be safe to travel the Underground Railroad, again.

The story of resilience of freedom seekers continues to inspire us, and the Black Voice Foundation is committed in sharing their stories. From tragedies comes creativity and triumphs. We are excited to announce that we have been working hard to bring our teachers a continued commitment to teach and inspire with NEW programs, just for you. We have designed several experiences to bring Footsteps docents and dynamic speakers from across America, to the Inland Empire, for the first time ever!

* Leading with Empathy Lab - Reverse experience in the Inland Empire (Footsteps to Freedom coming to California).

* Teacher resource fair (Footsteps to You) learn what educators have created with their Underground Railroad experience.

* Traveling exhibits: The resilience to create greatness Chattel Slavery, Reconstruction, Jim Crow, Civil Rights.

* Student tours & field trips -An Immersive, Virtual reality,GIS, experience of primary source artifacts and storytelling, that students will be able to touch.

* Graduate Certificate in Empathy: Earn 4 graduate credits for presenting what you created with your footsteps experience.

We can’t wait to see you soon! Stay safe and we continue to pray for the lives impacted by this pandemic.

Black Voice Foundation Inc


1590 N Waterman Ave
San Bernardino, CA


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Listen to: The 80-Year Mystery Around 'Fred Douglas' Park -
NPR RADIO STORY on Code Switch segment Listen to: The 80-Year Mystery Around 'Fred Douglas' Park -
greetings, how can i become a part of this amazing tour?
That is JR, our fearless and awesome driver! Will drive us on a blessed journey through the trials and tribulations that our Enslaved Ancestors journeyed through in search of freedom on the Footsteps to Freedom Underground Railroad Tour! JR....Dabbing #DaphneDixon-Watson #Readyforthejourney
1st stop Ohio State😁