WASHINGTON — Second Gentleman of the United States Douglas Emhoff and Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland last week announced 16 additions to the National Park Service’s National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program. The Lizzie Amby Escape Site, a privately owned home in Cambridge, is one of those listings which was accepted as a site in the Network.
The new listings join nearly 700 other sites, programs, and facilities in the network that honor, preserve, and promote the history of resistance to enslavement through escape and flight. A recording of the event can be viewed via YouTube.
“[This] announcement reminds us of the dark pages in our history books, but also highlights the incredible strength and resilience of Black communities,” said Interior Secretary Deb Haaland. “We need to look no further than the news of this week to know that our work is not done and commit ourselves to real progress. To do that, we must start by recognizing the history that brought us here.”
The event capped National Park Week, an annual weeklong celebration of America’s national parks which encourages the public to explore the vast network of our national parks, sacred sites, and historical landmarks, as well as our shared heritage contained within them.
At the event, National Park Service Chief Historian Dr. Turkiya Lowe and Park Ranger Casimer Rosiecki from Gulf Islands National Seashore highlighted two of the new listings, including the Lizzie Ambie Escape Site in Cambridge, Maryland, and the Barrancas in Pensacola, Fla.
In October 1857, Dr. Alexander Bayly placed an advertisement in a local newspaper looking for 28-year-old Lizzie. Dr. Bayly enslaved Lizzie in Cambridge, until she and her husband, Nat, escaped.
They travelled to Pennsylvania, where they met famed Underground Railroad activist William Still. He interviewed the couple, where they told Still that Lizzie would “wade through blood and tears for her freedom.”
“The Underground Railroad was pivotal to the ongoing struggle for civil rights, and the stories of freedom seekers, such as Lizzie Ambie, who bravely self-liberated are still humbling to us today,” said Dr. Turkiya Lowe. “The Network to Freedom Program is dedicated to amplifying diverse histories and providing a platform to convey a more complete history of our country.”
The Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program is a catalyst for innovation, partnerships, and scholarship that connects and shares the diverse legacy of the Underground Railroad across boundaries and generations. It coordinates preservation and education efforts nationwide and integrates local historical places, museums, and interpretive programs associated with the Underground Railroad into a mosaic of community, regional, and national stories.
There are now 680 listings in 39 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands in the Network. Each one provides insight into the diverse experiences of freedom seekers who escaped slavery, and their allies.
The Lizzie Ambie escape site is located along the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway in Dorchester County. To learn more, visit their website.