A contingency of Madison County well-wishers welcomed a score of Free Them Walkers to the Gerrit Smith Estate National Historic Landmark and the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum in Peterboro Monday morning May 31. On the last day of May the Walkers had racked up over 700 miles of the 902 miles they will walk from Lynchburg VA to Buffalo to arrive for the Juneteenth celebration. The route of the Free Them Walk followed parts of the Underground Railroad trails in New York, and included partner sites on the Underground Railroad Consortium of New York State before and after the stop in Peterboro.
Kelly Diane Galloway, founder of the international humanitarian organization Ramp Global Missions, and principal organizer of the walk, spoke to reporters and visitors at the Gerrit Smith Estate. She explained that she is on the third generation in her family not born on a plantation where people were enslaved. She told the gathered audience, “My ancestors were trafficking victims, bought and sold for labor, bought and sold for sex, bought and sold for medical experimentation, bought and sold for entertainment.” “That’s why it’s so important to connect those things together because slavery never stopped.” “Human trafficking is personal to me.” Galloway expressed near the gate where freedom seekers arrived at Gerrit and Ann Smith’s home to escape slavery.
After a visit to the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum, the Walkers had lunch at the Smithfield Community Center where Galloway and others shared accounts of their experiences along the way. In its effort to help stop human trafficking, the FreeThemWalk Team seeks to educate others about the crime and inform them how to identify and help victims. The FreeThemWalk is made of a group of modern-day abolitionists who spread awareness to light a path toward freedom for enslaved people today. The FreeThem Walkers are filming a documentary as they walk their 30 miles per day. For more information thefreethemwalk.com
The exterior interpretive signage at the Gerrit Smith Estate National Historic Landmark is open dawn to dusk for people who respect the property and safe health practices. The National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum will be open in 2021 Sundays July 11 – August 29th Noon ~ 4 p.m. For more information, visit PeterboroNY.org, NationalAbolitionHallofFameandMuseum.org, info@GerritSmith.org and email@example.com.