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McCracken County Public Library presents Underground Railroad and American Memory

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This presentation will examine the role of Kentucky in constructing one of the nation’s most well-traveled Underground Railroad escape corridors through the Kentucky borderlands onto the western frontier. As the location of one of Kentucky’s thirteen identified Underground Railroad escape corridors, the speaker will discuss the role of McCracken County and western Kentucky in establishing the National Park Service identified Central Underground Railroad Escape Corridor. Western Kentucky and Indiana abolitionists are credited with providing freedom for hundreds of escaping slaves from and through the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Many of these escapees reached Kentucky in search of family and freedom in the west. This presentation also seeks to encourage local residents to explore and preserve local history related to this important aspect of celebrated American history.

Turley previously served as founder & Director Carter G. Woodson Center for Interracial Education, Berea College from July 1, 2012 to August 30, 2019. She is currently completing a new title, Black Evangelicals and the Gospel, with University Press of Kentucky.

She serves as a Commissioner, with the Kentucky African American Heritage Commission, Frankfort, KY. She has been appointed Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) Qualified Administrator for the administration and interpretation of the Harvard created Intercultural Development Inventory.

In August 2019, Turley presented “Hidden in Plain View: Underground Railroad Quilt Codes and Their Ghanaian Connection,” 400 Years of Memory and Belonging in Global Africa Conference, Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration, in Accra, Ghana.

Her recognition in the field of historic preservation resulted in a special invitation to celebrate restoration of Ellis Island in New York Harbor and from government officials in Mystic Seaport, Connecticut, the site of the recreated slave ship, Amistad.

While serving as director of the Underground Railroad Research Institute, the institute she established at Georgetown College, her work with the Park Service culminated in formation of a network of national and international Underground Railroad sites, the Network to Freedom Association. The association brought together for the first time, known members of protected national and international Underground Railroad sites for the purpose of furthering preservation and research efforts.

She’s received her BA, Georgetown College, a MA American History, University of Kentucky, and MPA, Public Policy Administration Honors Graduate, Mississippi State University.

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