Destination Freedom tours the history of NEPA

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WAVERLY, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania is rich in history. Some of it you may not be aware of, including the role local communities playing in the Underground Railroad.

“In this area, we tend to focus on coal and trains and the railroads and iron and steel as the focus of our history, but there is this other history that tells a human story,” E.J. Murphy, Destination Freedom tour guide said.

The history that E.J. Murphy is talking about is the role a number of counties played in helping slaves escape to freedom on the Underground Railroad. Waverly is one of those communities where former slaves settled.

“The first fugitive who made his way to Waverly is George Key Sr. He founded, or help found Waverly’s African-American Community,” Murphy said.

That is why the Waverly Community House and the Abington Community Library teamed up for their project Destination Freedom. Walking tours around Waverly show people across Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania the history in their own backyards.

“You walk around the square and you see these sites of significance and you learn a little bit about each individual that contributed to the movement. Each home, each church, and what exactly their contribution was,” Gia Reviello, the Collections Manager at Waverly Community House.

Historic Waverly is like a step back in time.

“Waverly is so well preserved you really do get the sense that you are in another time period,” Murphy said.

The Waverly Community House and Abington Community Library want visitors to see the significance of this town’s history.

“History is so vital, especially local history is having this resurgence within the last few years, so for people to get out in their community and see their roots and their history is so important. I think it really resonates with them,” Renee Roberts, Project Manager at Abington Community Library said.

The next guided tour will be on Sunday at 1 p.m. You can call the Abington Community Library for reservations.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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