STROUDSBURG, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – History is all around us, but many times it can go unnoticed. A group in Stroudsburg is hoping to uncover a specific period of our past and make it into a map for families to enjoy.
The Underground Railroad was a network of secret routes runaway slaves used in the 19th century to escape into free states.
Part of that system existed in Stroudsburg.
“There was many routes throughout Eastern Pennsylvania,” says Jacob Morris, Director of the New York City Freedom Trail.
One small group is determined to research African American history in Monroe County. Already, they’re learning more than expected.
Morris adds, “I think this is extremely worthwhile to do.”
Monroe County’s Historical Association doesn’t have many records about African American activity locally.
“This is going to take a lot of work, a lot of digging through records, looking through books and talking with the community members,” says Amy Leiser, Executive Director of Monroe County Historical Association.
Jacob Morris helped creat a map showing Underground Railroad locations throughout New York City. His goal is to make a similar brochure for Monroe County.
He says, “we should learn from history.”
Daniel Stroud, whose family founded ‘Stroudsburg, created a school for African American students.
Today, the building is a quaint house on Thomas Street.
“That’s very, very moving to me,” Morris adds.
Dr. Sydenham Walton was a local abolitionist and Quaker who helped slaves escape to freedom.
Today, he’s buried in a small cemetery near Quaker Alley in Stroudsburg.
“There is definitely information here and we really need to get that out and help spread and share this history,” Leiser adds.
The group hopes college professors and independent scholars can help research the history.
They’re also relying on local residents who may have ancestral connections.
If you have useful artifacts or old articles that can help, contact the Monroe County Historical Association at (570) 421-7703 or KwanzaaMama, Inc. at (570) 844-1560.