ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Education and Science»
  • History & Archaeology»
  • History of the Americas

Slave Jail Exhibit at National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

Updated on June 19, 2013

Cincinnati Freedom Center Features Stirring Exhibits

by Robb Hoff

I can remember the profound sense of eery solemnity that coursed through me the first time I entered the "Slave Jail" that is now the centerpiece exhibit of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati. It was the same kind of visceral experience as entering the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. The evil that humans can wreak on this world was palpable in both structures to the extent that these places were like portals opening up the mind to another dimension where the full depth of sorrow and inhumanity becomes unforgettably intertwined.

My encounter with the Slave Jail at the Freedom Center is different from most who experience it in its reconstructed museum state. I was among a small group who were actively involved at the original site of the structure before it was plucked from the Mason County section of Germantown and reassembled at its riverfront Cincinnati home between Great American Ballpark where the Cincinnati Reds play and Paul Brown Stadium that is home of the Cincinnati Bengals.

For a time back in early 2000, it looked like there might be enough opposition to moving the Slave Jail from the site -- where it was enclosed within a barn structure in the middle of a clover field -- to keep the structure in situ. i even had called then publisher of the Cincinnati Enquirer Harry Whipple during that time to inform him that I had recorded the farm owner of the property stating that he was paid $250,000 for the structure at a time when the public claim was that the it was an in-kind donation.

But after the Kentucky Attorney General's Office decided not to block the structure's relocation on the basis of federal antiquities preservation laws, the inevitable followed and the slave jail was moved to become a key component of the Freedom Center.

In retrospect, it was a good thing for the structure to be removed and relocated where it would actually be experienced by millions of visitors. Had it remained in the tobacco barn that it enclosed it, the remnants of the structure would have undoubtedly been lost forever at some point.

I never thought that the reconstruction of the Slave Jail could approximate what the original site experience had to offer and it quite frankly did not, any more than if the Freedom Center had been able to relocate the Rankin House and the John P. Parker House in Ripley, Ohio or the Colonel Charles Young Birthplace cabin in Mason County, Kentucky at Mayslick.

But to the credit of the Freedom Center and the vision behind its purpose in such a prominent place on the Cincinnati riverfront, I have to say that the museum has ensured the survival of the Slave Jail and its emblematic significance in the story of the Underground Railroad and ultimately African-American History.

Jerry Gore depicts the view from the Slave Jail that was removed from its site near Maysville, Kentucky to become the centerpiece of the Freedom Center in Cincinnati.
Jerry Gore depicts the view from the Slave Jail that was removed from its site near Maysville, Kentucky to become the centerpiece of the Freedom Center in Cincinnati.
The Slave Jail that stands in the National Underground Freedom Center in Cincinnati once looked like this when it stood housed inside of a barn in Mason County, Kentucky.
The Slave Jail that stands in the National Underground Freedom Center in Cincinnati once looked like this when it stood housed inside of a barn in Mason County, Kentucky.
The Slave Jail now inside of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati was moved from its site near Maysville, Kentucky after opposition to the removal was quashed.
The Slave Jail now inside of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati was moved from its site near Maysville, Kentucky after opposition to the removal was quashed.

Slave Jail Fight in 2000

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)