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Delaware Underground Railroad Gets Quarter Million Boost From Congress

October 17, 2001

WASHINGTON, DC - The effort to support, preserve and commemorate Delaware's historic Underground Railroad just got an important financial boost from the federal government. Senators Biden and Carper announced that the FY 2002 Interior Appropriations bill, passed by Congress earlier today, includes $250,000 to help establish an Underground Railroad Network throughout the State of Delaware.

Calling it an "important symbol for our nation's fight for freedom and equality," Senator Joe Biden hailed passage of the spending package and noted that this funding will help give Delaware's Underground Railroad the historic recognition it deserves.

"The Underground Railroad played such an important role in our nation's history and the history of this state," said Biden. "It not only symbolizes the beginning of the civil rights movement in this country, but represents the incredible courage and determination of the men and women who risked their lives to help hundreds of thousands of slaves escape to freedom . If we as a nation are to continue to move forward, we cannot afford to ever lose sight of where we've been."

"We must protect our history if we are to learn its lessons. The self-sacrifice of the men and women who manned our state's Underground Railroad still inspires Delawareans today," Carper said. "This funding comes at a crucial time in our efforts to protect their legacy of courage."

The National Park Service has identified 380 Underground Railroad sites nationwide, 19 of which are in Delaware. This funding will help local historians develop a plan to preserve these sites, document the heritage of the Underground Railroad participants and highlight Delaware's role in this secret resistance movement. The timing of the grant is critical as many sites are in danger of being lost or destroyed.

"The history of the Underground Railroad is an amazing story of bravery and ingenuity that offers insight into America's need to face our collective history together," said Senator Biden. "I am pleased that my colleagues in Congress recognized the need to provide this funding. This money will help the State of Delaware preserve an important piece of American history."

The bill now goes to the president for his signature.


 

 
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