KU News Release

May 2, 2011
Contact: Heather Anderson, Dole Institute of Politics, 785-864-1422

Exhibit and program at the Dole Institute focus on abolition and slavery

More Information

LAWRENCE — The Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas will host a traveling exhibit titled “Free at Last: A History of the Abolition of Slavery in America” beginning Monday, May 9.

An opening program, “The Long Road to Freedom: Escaping Slavery in ‘Little Dixie,’ ” with author, archaeologist, lecturer and KU alumnus Jimmy Johnson, will be at 3 p.m. Wednesday, May 11, at the Dole Institute. A public reception will follow at 4 p.m.

The exhibit, program and reception are free and open to the public. The exhibit runs from May 9 to June 3.

“It is particularly fitting that this exhibit be presented here since Lawrence was the epicenter of abolition activity in Kansas from 1854 to 1861,” said Dole Institute media and exhibits archivist Judy Sweets. “We hope visitors will be awed and inspired to learn more about our rich local and national abolition history.”

Developed by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the exhibit traces the history of the movement to abolish slavery from the framing of the Constitution to its abolition during the Civil War. It illuminates shades of opinion within the ranks of the famous and ordinary, free and slave, men and women, who come to see slavery as incompatible with the ideals upon which the nation was founded.

The exhibition will present personal letters, documents, cartoons, photographs and broadsides from the Gilder Lehrman Collection previously unavailable to the public nationally.

Johnson’s program will tell the compelling story of his great-grandfather, who escaped to Quindaro, Kan., from slavery on a Platte County, Mo., plantation in 1862, signed on with the 1st Kansas Colored Infantry and, after the war, became a successful farmer in Douglas County in Kansas. Johnson will describe the research methods — historical, archaeological and genealogical — he used to trace the eventful life of his ancestor.

The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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