homepage logo

Students learn the challenges of freedom

By Staff | Sep 16, 2014

Sixth grade students got to experience first hand what it was like to pick raw cotton as they learned how to separate the seeds and debris as the slaves did prior to the Civil War.

MUNCY – Fifth and sixth grade students from Ward L. Myers Elementary School were fortunate to view the traveling exhibit from Canada “Passage To Freedom: Secrets of the Underground Railroad” on Friday morning, September 5th shortly after its premiere at the Lycoming Mall.

Both teachers and students were in awe at the hands-on exhibit that will be on display until the end of the month.

Dressed in 18th century clothing volunteers from the Muncy Historical Society were on hand to explain the various displays and set up four learning stations for the students. They learned first hand what life was like to be a slave and how various escape methods were used to find their way to freedom.

Sixth grade teacher Jodi Bohart said that there will be some follow up discussion after the field trip on what they learned. Each group learned how to “pick cotton” as they were shown by volunteer Suzanne Murray how to separate the seeds from raw cotton and put them into three separate piles, one for the seeds, one for debris and a pile for the raw cotton itself.

At another station, Linda Poulton explained how the old Indian paths were used for escape routes and the children were surprised that they traveled on open roads as they were under the misconception that slaves actually travelled in underground tunnels the entire time.

Martha Huddy is showing the students how the slaves would mail themselves in this wooden mail box. "This was one of the creative escape methods used," she told them during this interactive traveling exhibit about the Underground Railroad now at the Lycoming Mall.

Eight classes of students visited that morning. Teacher Rob Wallis said that some of the students already knew the names of some of the houses in Pennsdale that were part of the Underground Railroad. “It was neat they had that connection.”

Walter Heath, another sixth grade teacher said that he told his class about a week ago they were going to visit the exhibit and they were very excited about it. “The important thing is they will go home to tell their parents about this.”

The exhibit will be open Monday through Saturday from noon to 8 and on Sundays from noon to 4 until September 30.