News Release Date: August 1, 2022

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WASHINGTON – In honor of Emancipation Day in Canada, the National Park Service announced the award of $150,000 in National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom (NTF) Grants to 26 existing and prospective Network to Freedom members. This grant program, funded by the 400 Years of African American History Commission (400 YAAHC) and administered through the Association of African American Life and History (ASALH), will support community work to document, preserve, and interpret Underground Railroad history.

On August 1, 1834, the Slavery Abolition Act passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom went into effect, abolishing African slavery throughout the English empire. Many freedom seekers decided to cross the northern U.S. border into British-controlled Canada, and other freedom-seekers set sail for the Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, the British Virgin Islands, and other British-controlled islands in the Caribbean. This day has been celebrated as “Emancipation Day” by Black communities in Canada since the 1800s.

“We are excited to announce our new recipients in conjunction with such an important day in world history,” said Diane Miller, National Park Service Underground Railroad Network to Freedom program manager. “This grant round is particularly special because not only did we have many new members apply for funding, but the funds will allow for little known Underground Railroad stories to be documented and new sites and programs to be brought into the Network to Freedom community.”

This year, two funding opportunities were available. Existing Network to Freedom members were eligible to compete for grants to preserve and restore buildings associated with the Underground Railroad, for interpretation, and for additional historical research. Prospective members–historic sites, programs, or facility stewards – were eligible to compete for grants to support research and preparation of Network to Freedom applications.

“In furtherance of our FREEDOM FORWARD Campaign, the 400 YAAHC is pleased to provide these resources to expand the Network to Freedom,” said Addie Richburg, executive director of the 400 Years of African American History Commission. “We congratulate all recipients and look forward to the progress that will occur as a result of each award.”

“We at ASALH are delighted to play a major role in making these Network to Freedom grant opportunities available to entities that have played a role in some of the little-known underground railroad efforts. It is vastly gratifying to know that our participation helps to bring these histories to the attention of the general public,” Sylvia Cyrus, executive director of Association of African American Life and History said.

Learn more about the Network to Freedom, how to join, and apply for grants on