Episode 36

36. The Underground Railroad in Niagara Falls with Bill Bradberry


February 19th, 2018

12 mins 52 secs

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About this Episode

Bill Bradberry, the President and Chairman of the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Area Commission, thinks of the entire city of Niagara Falls, NY as an open crime scene from “the crime of holding people in bondage, and the man-made crime of trying to escape.” With Canada just across the Niagara river, the Commission conducts research on the Underground Railroad as it relates to Niagara Falls and the surrounding area — for some, the last terminus in the United States.

The Commission will open the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center on May 4th, 2018. Bradberry hopes that the center will show the full story, from black waiters at hotels helping enslaved people escape while serving their enslavers with duplicitous professionalism to massive brawls breaking out between abolitionists and bounty hunters.

In this episode, Bradberry talks about situating previously unknown stories into our understanding of the Underground Railroad, discovering the lack of non-white faces in the museum world he has recently entered, and his plan to change that.

Bill Bradberry

Topics Discussed: 
00:00: Intro
00:15: Bill Bradberry
01:10: The Geography of Escape
02:05: The Cataract House Hotel
04:25: John Morrison
05:10: Historical Research
06:12: Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center Opening
07:10: The Lack of Non-White Faces in the Museum World
11:11: Introducing Club Archipelago 

Museum Archipelago is proud to announce Club Archipelago, a new, members-only podcast that reviews interactive museum exhibits. To subscribe, support the show on Patreon.