Salem County, New Jersey, is in an area where free blacks lived alongside enslaved African Americans in the early 19th century, and it was close to the slave states during the Civil War. It was also home to one of the first Quaker settlements in America, a group that was known to assist freedom seekers. All this made Salem County an important station along the Underground Railroad.
7 Steps to Freedom tells stories about the struggle against slavery from different points of view, including a Quaker abolitionist, Civil War soldiers, a young African American girl who became a poet and a conductor on the Underground Railroad. Seven locations around Salem County are associated with these narratives and can be visited by following the maps found at this website. Journey in the footsteps of these people and listen to their stories by cell phone in the places they knew. The 7 Freedom Stories can also be heard here on this site.
The 7 Freedom Stories
Hear actors Lamont Dixon and Alexandra Ford bring to life the stories of a young poet, a slavecatcher’s trial, an Underground Railroad conductor, a woman who set herself free, a great orator, and a Quaker abolitionist. Listen to their stories and find out more online or make a phone call (856-339-8655) to hear the stories.
Abigail Goodwin, Quaker abolitionist
Find out more here or call 856-339-8655 Ext. 2203
How one woman set herself free
Find out more here or call 856-339-8655 Ext. 2205
The great orator, Dr. John Stewart Rock
Find out more here or call 856-339-8655 Ext. 2206
A Slave Catcher on Trial in Salem
Find out more here or call 856-339-8655 Ext. 2208
Poet Hetty Saunders describes her escape
Find out more here or call 856-339-8655 Ext. 2211
Thomas Clement Oliver, Underground Railroad conductor
Find out more here or call 856-339-8655 Ext. 2209
Black Civil War veterans remembered
Find out more here or call 856-339-8655 Ext. 2201
Meet the Photographer
Artist Wendel A. White photographed the historical sites and objects related to the 7 Steps to Freedom stories. Watch a video showing the photographer at work on location in Salem County and see a slide show of the finished photographs.
Meet the Historians
Dr. Clement A. Price, professor of history at Rutgers University, talks with Underground Railroad historian Dr. Spencer Crew about South Jersey’s role in the struggle for freedom, and the meaning of the Underground Railroad today.
About 7 Steps to Freedom
Find out more about the personnel behind the production of 7 Steps to Freedom.
Learn about the funders who have made 7 Steps to Freedom possible.
Find educational activities and curriculum materials for 7 Steps to Freedom.
7 Steps to Freedom is a production of the Salem County Cultural & Heritage Commission in partnership with the Foundation for New Jersey Public Broadcasting.
c. 2011 Salem County Cultural & Heritage Commission