History of the Underground Railroad to be Explored through Upcoming Mount Union Program

March 02, 2017

ALLIANCE, Ohio – On Saturday, March 25, Coming Together Stark County, the University of Mount Union, and the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra will offer events across the region on the history of the Underground Railroad. The afternoon will begin with docent-led tours of the Haines House in Alliance from 1:30-3:30 p.m. A discussion led by Dr. Michelle Collins-Sibley on author Colson Whitehead’s novel The Underground Railroad will follow at 4 p.m. in the Newbold Room of the Hoover-Price Campus Center at the University of Mount Union. Finally, a performance by the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra of music celebrating Harriett Tubman, a heroine of the Underground Railroad, will take place in Youngstown at 8 p.m. A catered dinner and reflections by Dr. Collins-Sibley prior to the performance will take place at the DeYor Performing Arts Center.

The Haines House, located at 186 West Market Street in Alliance, was built between 1828 and 1842 by John and Nancy Grant, one of the first families to settle in the area. Their daughter and son-in-law, Sarah and Ridgeway Haines, operated a station on the Underground Railroad through the house in the years before and during the Civil War. The house is now an Underground Railroad museum and offers events, special exhibits, and tours. Docent-led tours will be available on March 25 from 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. A donation of $3 is requested of those who visit the Haines House.

In her presentation, titled “New States of Mind: Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad,” Dr. Collins-Sibley, a Professor of English and Director of the Africana Studies Program at Mount Union, will examine Whitehead’s reimagining of the underground railroad as literal space through which passengers move, and how he aims to examine both personal and social responsibilities related to this moment in history. Copies of Whitehead’s novel will be available for purchase at the Mount Union University Bookstore. There is no charge for this program.

The 8 p.m. performance by the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra will feature Nkeiru Okove’s When I Crossed That Line to Freedom, along with Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man. A catered dinner served at 6 p.m. followed by a brief introduction by Dr. Collins-Sibley at 7:15 p.m. will preceed the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra’s performance. Dr. Collins-Sibley will present “Thinking about the Underground Railroad…I Like to Think about Harriet Tubman,” during which she will explore both fact and myth surrounding Tubman through the reading of select poems. The title for this talk is derived from a poem called “I like to think about Harriet Tubman” by Susan Griffin. 

The symphony performance will be held in the Edward W. Powers Auditorium of the DeYor Performing Arts Center, 260 West Federal Street. A special ticket package of $45 will include the Alliance tour of Haines House, the catered dinner, and symphony admission. The total package can be purchased through Coming Together Stark County by calling 330-454-5880.Those who wish to attend the symphony only may purchase tickets online at www.youngstownsymphony.com.

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