Storytellers: Anthony Cohen

Storytellers is an ongoing audio series where vibrant Marylanders tell their unique stories about what they do and why they choose to do it in Maryland.

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Anthony Cohen Founder and President of The Menare Foundation
Photo By: Anthony Cohen

Listen to Anthony Cohen's Maryland Story   

Anthony Cohen

A historian, author, and explorer of the American past. An early purveyor experimental history, Cohen launched his career in the spring of 1996, embarking on a two-month-long journey to explore The Underground Railroad; the secret network, which thousands of enslaved Americans traveled to attain their freedom.

Cohen began his trek on May 4, 1996 in Sandy Spring, MD, traveling a distance of 1,200 miles, by foot, boat and rail to his final destination in Amherstburg, Ontario, on July 7, 1996. Cohen traced the steps of runaways along wilderness trails and waterways to fugitive slave communities and Quaker sanctuaries, while stopping in towns along the way to chronicle their stories through artifacts, documents and oral accounts. Following the success of his first walk, Cohen embarked on second in 1998 traveling three months from Mobile, Alabama to Windsor, Ontario. 2015 brought third and final expedition as he follows the route of his great-great grand uncle who fled slavery in Savannah, GA for freedom in Canada in 1849. This journey will be chronicled in a documentary, Patrick & Me: A Personal Journey on the Underground Railroad, to be released nationwide in 2019.

Cohen is the Founder and President of The Menare Foundation, Inc., a national non-profit organization, “Preserving the Legacy of the Underground Railroad” and operates the Button Farm Living History Center, a 40 acre farm depicting 1850s plantation life in Maryland. He has served as a consultant to the National Parks Conservation Association, Maryland Public Television, NASA among others and trained Oprah Winfrey for her role as Sethe in the 1998 motion picture Beloved.

Cohen has served on the Governor’s Board for Tourism Development for the State of Maryland and has worked for the past decade as an interpretive consultant for the Harriett Tubman Underground Railroad Byway in Maryland and Delaware, the design review team for the National Park Service’ Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park and Visitor Center in Blackwater MD, and as Director of Historical Interpretation for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. He recently launched HISTORIO, a company creating living history experiences and programs at historical sites across the country.

Cohen received his B.A. in American Studies from American University. He makes his home near Washington, DC.

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