Niagara Gazette

Opinion

April 3, 2013

BRADBERRY: Still holding these truths to be self evident

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — The cornerstone to that church, laid two years later in 1855 should also serve to remind us of Harriet Tubman who, as heroically as Nik Wallenda repeatedly risked her life (she without a tether) crossing back and forth to and from Canada leading escapees to freedom.

Likely, other churches like the First Presbyterian Church of Niagara Falls, begun in the mid 1820s, and the present stone structure erected in 1841 and still standing on First Street in downtown Niagara Falls where a number of original members as well as frequent guests including such notables as the Porter Family, Samuel DeVeaux, and General Lafayette participated on one side or the other in the abolitionism debate.

Likewise, the First Presbyterian Church of Lewiston, New York, a short distance down-river from Niagara Falls, today serves as neighbor to the Marble Orchard, a reference to the next door cemetery where abolitionist activist Josiah Tryon who bravely served as a secret Underground Railroad Station Master is buried.

These places and their stories and many others like them in our community need to be properly respected and preserved as in the language of the Underground Railroad Heritage Area’s Mission Statement, “to educate and inform the community about the rich local heritage associated with the Underground Railroad and Abolitionist movement, and to conserve and enhance the historic, cultural, economic and architectural resources of Niagara Falls.”

In my personal humble opinion, and as a member of the Underground Railroad and the National Heritage Commission it should be self evident that doing so is at least as important an investment this community can make in its economic future as paving roads and patching potholes.

Contact Bill at bill.bradberry@yahoo.com

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