Yates Freedom Journey
Welcome to the Yates Freedom Journey - 300 Miles of History. Yates County History Center’s Virtual Travel of the Underground Railroad.
This event is inspired by a Penn Yan resident, John Thomas. In 1835, John Thomas ran from slavery in Leesburg, Virginia to freedom in Penn Yan, New York. John Thomas journeyed 651 miles. He traveled from Leesburg, Virginia to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Dutchess County, New York to Penn Yan, New York. He stayed in Dutchess County for a few years before continuing to Penn Yan. While we are not using the path he took, we are using his starting and ending points. You are going to use a more direct route; a 300-mile journey which follows along today’s Route 15 corridor.
Freedom Seekers traveled by any means they could. This included walking, running, swimming, traveling by wagons, on horses, in trains and by boat. As the Freedom Seekers used whatever was available to them, we are asking you to do the same thing. Your challenge is to complete the 300 miles by walking, running, biking, driving, stationary bike, treadmill, etc. For this event we are asking you to keep track of your miles no matter what mode you use. Remember this is not a race, there are no prizes for 1st, 2nd or 3rd place.
During your travels on this journey, you will not encounter the dangers Freedom Seekers faced. Traveling the Underground Railroad was a life threatening and life changing experience. The goal was to reach freedom. Some made it, some did not. Some made it to freedom, only to be captured later and returned to slavery. Our goal of this event is to build a deeper respect and understanding for the brave freedom seeking people that attempted this journey North.
As you log the miles of your journey, you will learn about various people and places involved in the Underground Railroad. You will get this information when you reach specific mileage points.
This virtual event will go from February 1 to June 19, 2022. Registration will end May 15, 2022. We are excited to see how well everyone does in their travels. How many of you will gain your freedom?
We invite you to like the Yates County History Center on Facebook and Instagram to share your experiences and words of encouragement with others participating in this event.
A portion of the money raised from this event will be donated to Safe Harbors of the Finger Lakes. They provide confidential services, at no charge, for individuals, children and families who have experienced sexual assault, domestic violence and human trafficking in Ontario, Seneca and Yates Counties in New York.
NOTE: Because this is a virtual event, there will be NO PACKET PICK-UP before the event starts. Further instructions will be sent to you on February 1st, unless you register at a later date than that. If you do, then those instructions will be sent when you register.
IMPORTANT POINT: IF YOU CHOOSE TO SIGN UP FOR THIS CHALLENGE, BE SURE TO SAY YOU WANT EMAIL FROM RUNSIGNUP. THIS WILL ENSURE YOU ENJOY ALL THE FEATURES THAT WILL BE PART OF YOUR ADVENTURE!!
If you have any questions, please contact us at YatesFreedomJourney@gmail.com.