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Is Black History Month getting diluted?
Associated Press ^ | 02/15/07 | ERIN TEXEIRA

Posted on 02/20/2007 12:34:26 PM PST by presidio9

Black History Month: Come February, the now-familiar observance seems to inspire ever more — and ever more random — celebrations.

The players are both big and small. Multinational corporations mount billboard campaigns, while community centers hold fashion shows and tourist spots highlight their connection to black history.

But does saturation equal success?

While the concept of Black History Month has been widely embraced in pop culture, it means some of the nation's most bitter history also is getting watered down into cliches or irrelevance. Some events have no historical tie-in at all — they're merely topics of interest to African-Americans. And, perhaps unsurprisingly, black history is used as a kind of commercial brand, which can feel off-key.

"It has become very mainstream," said Sheri Parks, a professor of American Studies at the University of Maryland. "I do think it's been diluted. Some of this seems like an excuse to put things on sale."

At Drexel University in Philadelphia, February events range from panel discussions about affirmative action and self-segregation on campus to a black art sale and an African American Down-Home Soul Food Dinner.

In Maryland's Prince George's County, there's Black History Magic, African Jewelry Making and a Black History Cheerleading Show.

A new-age center in Oakland, Calif., offered Mindful Drumming for Opening Minds and Healing Hearts and the University of Cincinnati's United Black Student Association has planned an event about online privacy titled "Has Facebook gone too far?"

Is this black history?

Though well-intentioned, the events are probably not what historian Carter G. Woodson had in mind when he created Negro History Week in 1926. He taught for decades that blacks must know their past before they could envision a brighter future.

By 1976, his organization, now called the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, had turned the week into Black History Month.

"The resistance was tremendous all over the country," said Maurice Thornton, a historian at the State University of New York at Albany. "There was a countervailing group who were doing their best to erase black history from the general public."

They lost the battle.

This month, Thornton said he gave a black history speech at the local office of the Federal Bureau of Investigations. "They're reaching out and want to let the world know that they're not just the old folks who tap your phones like they did during the civil rights era," he said.

Each night this month, there are several black history television programs to choose from — from BET's "Tupac: Thug Angel" to "Inside the Actors Studio" featuring two-hour interviews with Diana Ross and Eddie Murphy.

President Bush marked the month by holding a ceremony honoring modern-day black heroes including a New York City construction worker who saved a man from an oncoming subway train and an Olympic skier who lost her leg.

Black History Month "does caricature itself at times," said Linda Symcox, author of "Whose History?: The Struggle for National Standards in American Classrooms," about revising American history to include minority groups. Though she believes the month is a good thing overall, she said some events cross the line.

"If I were an African-American, I would be offended by having the month of February be some kind of palliative," she said.

Proof that corporate America has discovered Black History Month came Feb. 4, when the Super Bowl for the first time featured two African-American coaches, Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith.

Both the broadcast of the game itself and ads between the action featured numerous references to the NFL first. Frito Lay had a commercial showing black families bonding over a football game with an announcer's voice saying, "We've got more than a game here. We've got history." One Coca-Cola commercial played a blues piano melody and listed key moments in black history alongside a soda bottle, ending with: "Coca-Cola celebrates Black History. Especially today."

Some viewers said it was a fitting nod to Black History Month. "It was done well — it was subtle," said Lawrence C. Ross, a consumer strategist for Iconoculture, a consumer trend research company in Los Angeles. Other commercials, however, tended to be "ham-handed."

Parks felt there were too many ads highlighting black history. "With the first one, I smiled," she said. "By the third one, I wasn't smiling anymore. I wondered if they were exploiting (black history) and why."

But, she added, commercialism is inevitable in American culture. "It's unrealistic in this culture to say that Black History Month should be noncommercial. This is how we do it."

Indeed, this month, you can even take a vacation linked to black history.

At Christopher's B&B in Bellevue, Ky., tourists can pay $137 per night for their National Underground Railroad Freedom Center package, which includes a stay in a "junior jacuzzi room" and two adult tickets to the nearby museum.

The promotion is part of a push by Bedandbreakfast.com to steer visitors toward 14 historic homes that have connections to the secret network that once helped slaves escape to freedom, said Sandy Soule, editor of the Web site.

"This is the first year we've done this," Soule said. "I think we're going to make this a tradition."

___


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: blackhistorymonth; gayheritagemonth; liberalguilt
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1 posted on 02/20/2007 12:34:31 PM PST by presidio9
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To: presidio9

Black history month is a national disgrace.


2 posted on 02/20/2007 12:35:55 PM PST by brownsfan (It's not a war on terror... it's a war with islam.)
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To: presidio9

"Black History Month" Isn't it a crock!


3 posted on 02/20/2007 12:36:25 PM PST by Anti-Bubba182
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To: presidio9
Yet a White History Month would be racist...
4 posted on 02/20/2007 12:36:36 PM PST by 2banana (My common ground with terrorists - they want to die for islam and we want to kill them)
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To: brownsfan

Next thing they will want is their own drinkiing fountains!
I am really tired of black history month, hispanic history month, blah blah blah.
When will we get Italian history month?


5 posted on 02/20/2007 12:38:33 PM PST by Holicheese (Beerfest could be the greatest movie ever made!)
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To: 2banana

"Yet a White History Month would be racist..."

As long as we continue to categorize ourselves, we will continue to arbitrarily divide ourselves.

Brings to mind something about a House Divided.


6 posted on 02/20/2007 12:38:42 PM PST by brownsfan (It's not a war on terror... it's a war with islam.)
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To: brownsfan

Question: If we already had an entire "Black History Month," why did we also need a made up holiday in December to dilute the Christmas season?


7 posted on 02/20/2007 12:39:17 PM PST by presidio9 (There is something wonderful about a country that produces a brave and humble man like Wesley Autrey)
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To: brownsfan
I didn't know that history had a race, but leave it to the Orwellians. If someone were to offer me an "Italian History Month" I would think him daft. Perhaps some protected species don't think this way.
8 posted on 02/20/2007 12:39:34 PM PST by ashtanga
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To: brownsfan

Having it in the shortest month of the year is clearly racist.


9 posted on 02/20/2007 12:39:41 PM PST by Patrick1
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To: presidio9

Having this month is the wrong idea. First, it's American history. Second, the left is only trying to separate people into opposing groups.
Since the left would never agree to Polish history month, or German, or French, or whatever, the whole concept has to be trashed.


10 posted on 02/20/2007 12:39:47 PM PST by Leftism is Mentally Deranged
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To: presidio9

"Question: If we already had an entire "Black History Month," why did we also need a made up holiday in December to dilute the Christmas season?"

As with most things that happen in this world... follow the money. There is big money in amplifying, and working on the business of division and inequality, (Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton come to mind).


11 posted on 02/20/2007 12:41:11 PM PST by brownsfan (It's not a war on terror... it's a war with islam.)
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To: Patrick1
Having it in the shortest month of the year is clearly racist.

Having it period is clearly racist!

12 posted on 02/20/2007 12:41:27 PM PST by Bommer (Global Warming: The only warming phenomena that occurs in the Summer and ends in the Winter!)
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To: presidio9

Well, speaking as a European-American, I'm outraged!








(just kidding. :))


13 posted on 02/20/2007 12:41:47 PM PST by RexBeach
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To: Holicheese


And don't forget that June is "Gay Heritage Month" -I sh!t you not. Please ignore the fact that shirtlifters can't procreate, so they have no "heritage" in the general sense of the term.


14 posted on 02/20/2007 12:42:53 PM PST by presidio9 (There is something wonderful about a country that produces a brave and humble man like Wesley Autrey)
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To: presidio9
Question: If we already had an entire "Black History Month," why did we also need a made up holiday in December to dilute the Christmas season?

That is easy my FRiend....its because Christmas is a racist season! Celebrating the season by dreaming of a "WHITE" Christmas? Gets no more racist than that!

15 posted on 02/20/2007 12:44:07 PM PST by Bommer (Global Warming: The only warming phenomena that occurs in the Summer and ends in the Winter!)
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To: presidio9

Is there a plain History month?


16 posted on 02/20/2007 12:44:26 PM PST by RightWhale (300 miles north of Big Wild Life)
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To: brownsfan

Black history month is a national disgrace.
----
Yes, a celebration of race-baiting, frivolous pursuit of reparations for slavery, and unexcelled victimization in exchange for votes. At the same time, we should celebrate fine upstanding Americans like Jesse J., Al Sharpton, etc. Such pride we take in these fine Americans.


17 posted on 02/20/2007 12:45:25 PM PST by EagleUSA
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To: presidio9

Black History Month is liberalism's method of keeping the slaves on the plantation to do their bidding. Heaven forbid there should ever be anything known as an American History Month, teaching Patriotism and Pride of being an American. Teach a lie often enough and soon the people you want to keep as slaves begin to believe the lie. Ask Rev. Al and Rev. Jessie.


18 posted on 02/20/2007 12:46:42 PM PST by From One - Many (Trust the Old Media At Your Own Risk)
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To: presidio9
Maybe we could move it to a 31 day month so it wouldn't be so diluted.
19 posted on 02/20/2007 12:47:54 PM PST by Dixie Yooper (Ephesians 6:11)
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To: presidio9

I was once in a store owned by a major book seller chain and one employee came up and pointed to the black history books out for black history month and told me it was all political. He said that no one ever bought the books,and this is a store in Atlanta,Ga which has a major black market.


20 posted on 02/20/2007 12:49:06 PM PST by bilhosty (to hell with ABCNNBCBS)
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To: presidio9
I don't have a problem with this. Black history was neglected back in the days when schools actually taught American history.

The problem I have is that now we study a little black history one month of the year and ignore American history year round.

21 posted on 02/20/2007 12:49:23 PM PST by colorado tanker
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To: Holicheese
I've always liked German History Month.


22 posted on 02/20/2007 12:49:26 PM PST by Larry Lucido
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To: presidio9
Black History month? Diluted? Nahhh.....

One question... When is it?

23 posted on 02/20/2007 12:51:19 PM PST by Hatteras
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To: brownsfan

24 posted on 02/20/2007 12:51:24 PM PST by Larry Lucido
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To: presidio9

Black history should include key events in the history of slavery and Jim Crow, such as the fact the the Democrats were the party of racism and slavery from America's beginnings right on through the post-1964 civil rights era (to say nothing of the present).

If anyone has that historical list of dates on this issue, I'd appreciate if you'd post it.

I think the Democratic Party owes a national apology to all American black people, and to the world, for its leading role in the persecution of the black race.

Oh well. Maybe next life.


25 posted on 02/20/2007 12:54:06 PM PST by Maceman (This is America. Why must we press "1" for English?)
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To: presidio9
Is Black History Month getting diluted?

Would that result in a Gray History Month?

26 posted on 02/20/2007 12:56:10 PM PST by Onelifetogive (I don't have to show you no stinkin' tagline!)
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To: presidio9
Why have they not changed it to African-American History Month?
27 posted on 02/20/2007 12:56:23 PM PST by Niteranger68 (Point your toilets towards Mecca!)
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To: presidio9

The 5 Minute University celebration of Black History Month

Slavery - bad
George Washington Carver
Peanut butter
Rosa Parks
Martin Luther King

You have now completed your study requirements for Black History Month


28 posted on 02/20/2007 12:56:30 PM PST by TC Rider (The United States Constitution 1791. All Rights Reserved.)
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To: Patrick1
"Having it in the shortest month of the year is clearly racist."

That is why February is also a popular diet month...

29 posted on 02/20/2007 12:57:08 PM PST by Hatteras
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To: presidio9
How Clinton celebrates Black History month.


30 posted on 02/20/2007 12:57:13 PM PST by TypeZoNegative (".... We are a nation of Americans. We are DECENDED from legal immigrants"- johnandrhonda)
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To: presidio9
At Christopher's B&B in Bellevue, Ky., tourists can pay $137 per night for their National Underground Railroad Freedom Center package, which includes a stay in a "junior jacuzzi room" and two adult tickets to the nearby museum. The promotion is part of a push by Bedandbreakfast.com to steer visitors toward 14 historic homes that have connections to the secret network that once helped slaves escape to freedom, said Sandy Soule, editor of the Web site.

Be wary of any claims to "connections" to the underground railroad. My husband's extended family in Kentucky owned a very nice home (circa mid-1800s) right on the Ohio River. It had fallen into some disrepair and a few years ago a distance cousin from California bought it and fixed it up as a tourist spot. The older family members were quite surprised to learn that runaway slaves used to hide in the outbuildings and were smuggled north.

Makes me question a lot of what I'm told about historic sites.

31 posted on 02/20/2007 12:58:17 PM PST by workerbee (Ladies do not start fights, but they can finish them.)
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To: presidio9

From The Onion: "Nation To Celebrate First-Ever Black History Month History Week"

http://www.theonion.com/content/node/58206/print/


32 posted on 02/20/2007 12:59:34 PM PST by CutePuppy (If you don't ask the right questions you may not get the right answers)
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To: presidio9

Watering down is the American way. Christmas is a retail shopping orgy, Valentine's Day a card and jewelry sale and Halloween sells more candy than Easter.

Black History Month is when Budweiser and Coke market to African-Americans and PBS TV can rerun some shows on the Civil Rights era to highlight how hard the Democrats worked for that group (despite more Republicans in the Senate voting for the bill than Democrats).


33 posted on 02/20/2007 12:59:52 PM PST by RicocheT
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To: RacerF150

Yes, really? It's just a celebration of black Americans anyways. And actually, just black Americans in music, sports and political radicalism.

There are many fine black scientists in the world that thye could show students, like the late great Doctor Job Bwayo. If he wasn't murdered, his great mind could have led to neutralizing the most puzzling virii that has ever plauged mankind, HIV. But instead of demonstrating great black people from around the world in science and technology, they'd rather show African American rappers, athletes and political radicals.

This is clearly a BET created holiday.


34 posted on 02/20/2007 1:00:57 PM PST by TypeZoNegative (".... We are a nation of Americans. We are DECENDED from legal immigrants"- johnandrhonda)
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To: brownsfan
And a house divided is a house weakened. Whether there is an [African descent] history month, or a [European descent] one (along with one for other people groups (races)), it only serves fracture society. And yet issues also need to be addressed. France actually has a pretty decent policy: they do not take the ancestry or religious affiliation (including Muslim) of their citizens, and consider them only as French (technically). Yet the many vehicular fires and such, with both Muslim and African descendants blaming old-European descendants, and old-European descendants blaming Muslim and African descendants as the root cause of the conflict shows that that policy has not fully made a unified French nation.

Guessing it is sort of analogous to a side of a house that is rotting and the paint is ugly because of the rot. You could simply paint over the rot, but then the rot could just seep through, the rot could still spread, and the house could still be weakened. Before the side of the house can be painted over, the rotting wood underneath has to be removed and replaced; then the new paint can come in. Does this make sense? (an actual question--and not a carpenter).

So, the goal definitely should be a single, unified American society where some people are light skinned, other darker skinned, some with tightly curly hair, others with ramrod straight hair, etc. But before that can happen, the conflicts which do exist ought to be addressed and resolved. Then there can be a moving forward.

It only takes a few racists (from any people group (race)) to change a human's opinion about an entire people group.

35 posted on 02/20/2007 1:04:24 PM PST by Jedi Master Pikachu ( What is your take on Acts 15:20 (abstaining from blood) about eating meat? Could you freepmail?)
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To: presidio9
Black History Month was a scam at inception. How can you dilute a cynically conceived bone tossed to the race hustlers?
36 posted on 02/20/2007 1:06:52 PM PST by Tulsa Brian (Do the Clam....)
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To: presidio9
Why is there no Thomas Sowell celebrated in Black History Month?

Why is Booker T. Washington not celebrated in Black History Month?

Why is Clarence Thomas not celebrated in Black History Month?

Why is Condoleeza Rice not celebrated in Black History Month?

Why do they celebrate people like Malcolm X? Spike Lee? Athletes? Actors? Rap and Hip Hop celebrities?
37 posted on 02/20/2007 1:07:45 PM PST by rlmorel (Liberals: If the Truth would help them, they would use it.)
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To: rlmorel

Somthing tells me that Thomas Sowell, Clarence Thomas, and Condoleezza Rice will spend about thirty seconds COMBINED thinking about black history this February. They have more important things to think about.


38 posted on 02/20/2007 1:10:02 PM PST by presidio9 (There is something wonderful about a country that produces a brave and humble man like Wesley Autrey)
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To: Jedi Master Pikachu
.....only serves to fracture society.

.....light skinned, others darker skinned.....

39 posted on 02/20/2007 1:10:59 PM PST by Jedi Master Pikachu ( What is your take on Acts 15:20 (abstaining from blood) about eating meat? Could you freepmail?)
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To: TypeZoNegative

There are certainly many fine black Americans integral to the history of our country. Although I couldn’t give a ra+$-a$$ about P Diddy, I find myself fascinated with someone like George Washington Carver.


40 posted on 02/20/2007 1:11:51 PM PST by Niteranger68 (Point your toilets towards Mecca!)
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To: presidio9

Yes!


41 posted on 02/20/2007 1:11:59 PM PST by rlmorel (Liberals: If the Truth would help them, they would use it.)
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To: Dixie Yooper

I can't believe Bush only focused on it one day out of a whole munt.


42 posted on 02/20/2007 1:13:12 PM PST by ichabod1 ("Liberals read Karl Marx. Conservatives UNDERSTAND Karl Marx." Ronald Reagan)
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To: rlmorel

Booker T. Washington is getting less and less attention while his contemparary W.E.B. Dubois gets more and more attention. Washington advocated getting ahead via practical education, a work ethic, disciplined personal spending, and other traditional American means. Dubois advocated socialism and top-down legislation.

The fall of the Soviet Union should have debunked Dubois. But it is too popular to believe that Washington's work ethic "sucked up to the Man". It is too bad that Washington's book UP FROM SLAVERY is not read more often in our schools.


43 posted on 02/20/2007 1:22:07 PM PST by Monterrosa-24 ( ...even more American than a French bikini and a Russian AK-47.)
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To: Holicheese

And Irish history month (we do have St. Patrick's Day)


44 posted on 02/20/2007 1:22:48 PM PST by GeorgefromGeorgia
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To: Monterrosa-24

ABSOLUTELY! I just read 'Up From Slavery' last year for the first time...a remarkable man.

Exactly what you said. It is a shame. HE should have been the model for black success. What he did, worked.


45 posted on 02/20/2007 1:26:16 PM PST by rlmorel (Liberals: If the Truth would help them, they would use it.)
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To: presidio9

Is Black History Month getting diluted?"

I call it "Black History Two Months". At the last two places I've worked, the decorations seem to go up mid-January and come down mid-March. Maybe that's why it's diluted.


46 posted on 02/20/2007 1:28:15 PM PST by L98Fiero (A fool who'll waste his life, God rest his guts.)
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To: presidio9
When it comes to these 'faux holiday' months, I like Morgan Freeman's attitude.

When asked about 'Black History Month', he said something to the effect of 'Why only celebrate Black History for one month? Who's to say that one month is long enough?'

I agree completely, and would do away with all of the foolish things. Celebrating one race/culture/whatever at the expense of another, is just sanctioned discrimination.

47 posted on 02/20/2007 1:31:23 PM PST by wbill
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To: presidio9

48 posted on 02/20/2007 1:33:57 PM PST by GOP_Raider (Hated by all NFL fans since 1990.)
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To: presidio9; rlmorel

All that you named were on the list of Black Americans that the 3rd graders at my daughter's school were assigned to do reports on this month.

In talking with teacher I happened to ask her how she chose who to assign which person to and she told me if a student knew who someone was they didn't get that person. she tried to assign ones the kids didn't know.........thus my daughter wound up doing a report on Arthur Ashe instead of Sowell, Thomas or Rice.


49 posted on 02/20/2007 1:35:19 PM PST by Gabz (I like mine with lettuce and tomato, heinz57 and french-fried potatoes)
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To: workerbee
I lived in an old farmhouse in Maine that *really* was a part of the underground railroad to Canada.

The house had a basement, and 'root cellar / sub-basement' connected to it. There was a "secret" underground tunnel between the sub-basement and the stable. Cool stuff, when you're a kid.

50 posted on 02/20/2007 1:35:35 PM PST by wbill
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