The John P. Parker House, a National Historic Landmark and a Network to Freedom site, held an Underground Railroad History Camp from June 6-9 on site in Ripley.
The camp’s goal was to educate third, fourth and fifth grade students on the important role that the Underground Railroad played in abolishing slavery and to educate them about the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s.
Cindy Thompson, a docent for both the Parker House and the Rankin House, taught the class of eighteen. The Rankin House was also a station on the UGRR and is a National Historic Landmark.
John P. Parker was born into slavery in 1827, eventually buying his freedom and settling in Ripley, Ohio about 1848. For nearly 15 years, Parker rescued between 600-900 slaves, boldly crossing the Ohio River, engaging them onto the Underground Railroad.
Parker became an integral part of the UGRR, risking his own life and his own freedom to fight for the freedom of his people.
During the Parker Camp, students engaged daily in the NPS Junior Ranger Activity Booklet, “Discovering the Underground Railroad”. On the second day of camp, students created self portraits and glued them on felt squares, then tied them together to make a quilt of friendship.
Discussions of the Civil Rights movement occurred on the third day of camp.
They learned that Parker was a very important part of the early Civil Rights movement and about today’s struggle for true equality for all African Americans. Students performed in a Civil Rights play about Martin Luther King, “Big Words, Strong Words” by Bobbi Katz in the outdoor amphitheater.
The last day of camp concluded with a tour of the Ripley Museum and the Rankin House.
Students who participated were Annelise Depenbrock, Colton Brierly, Alex Arn, Kameron Madison, Landon Madison, Logan Madison, Brook Sims, Madelyn Dalton, Rebekah Bernhardt, Isaac Bernhardt, Samuel Bernhardt, Brandon Parks, Cora Parks, Lily Holder, Sydney Arn, Sierra Scales and Jersey Fulton.