Indiana’s fourth grade students study the state’s history, as we found out first-hand when we visited the Levi and Catharine Coffin State Historic Site in Fountain City. Over a hundred students were visiting on a field trip that day. Apparently that’s common during spring field trip season. I can understand why, since Levi and Catherine Coffin were instrumental in helping over 2,000 runaway slaves, or freedom seekers as they were called, escape to Canada over a twenty-year period. Between student groups, site director Joanna Hahn gave us a tour as she told the fascinating story of this couple whose lives were devoted to helping freedom seekers along the path to a free life.
African Americans settled in Georgetown as early as the 1820s. Georgetown, a neighborhood in Madison, Indiana, is located on the banks of the Ohio River. During the times of slavery, Indiana was a free state. Kentucky, across the river, was a slave state. Putting their own lives at risk, many Georgetown abolitionists helped slaves escape and travel north to freedom. They hid escaped slaves in their homes and other buildings as the slaves traveled the Underground Railroad route. During our visit to Madison, we took the self-guided Georgetown Walking Tour and saw some of the Georgetown buildings that still exist.