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Making It Work: The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

Freedom Center
Posted at 7:01 AM, Aug 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-16 10:35:49-04

CINCINNATI — While some businesses had trouble during the pandemic, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (NURFC) saw it as a chance to bolster resources and present their material to a larger audience.

"We were getting a lot of inquiries about resources from parents, and educators, especially how it relates to social studies, how it relates to the history and the legacy of the Underground Railroad," Chris Miller, the senior director of education and community engagement for the NURFC, said.

Miller said there have always been online learning resources available, but the pandemic really made it important to update and expand these resources.

"We had to really take, raise that up to be for the education team, our number one priority, actually, in seeing that there was a need for this learning to take place," he said.

Lesson plans were beefed up and online material was made more engaging, and this helped expand the reach of the NURFC.

"We are the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, and so not only are we a resource for the Greater Cincinnati area, we are a resource for the nation," Miller said. "Increasing our digital presence allows us to live up to that platform."

People from all over the US, as well as Canada, have used the NURFC's online resources since the pandemic started. And with a greater push for racial equity over the past year, Miller thinks the NURFC can help educate people.

"If we're not able to live with one another, to respect one another, all the technology, all the advancements, we make technological advancements, it will mean nothing," Miller said. "It will render into nothing if we don't learn how to treat each other with respect and with greater humanity."