Maryland Announces Fellows Selected To Study Underground Railroad Sites

Selected fellows will study, document, and provide interpretation for new Underground Railroad sites across Maryland

BALTIMORE, MD (February 2, 2021) - The Maryland Department of Commerce Office of Tourism has awarded four fellowships who will work with the Office of Tourism, the Legacy of Slavery in Maryland program at the Maryland State Archives, and other public and private organizations to study, document, and provide interpretation for Underground Railroad sites across Maryland. In July 2020, Maryland was awarded a $20,000 grant from the 400 Years of African American History Commission to fund this project.

“Maryland looks forward to discovering new Underground Railroad stories and places in order to share these experiences with our citizens and visitors,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “Maryland is the most powerful Underground Railroad storytelling destination in the world and we continue to honor and be inspired by Marylanders who utilized and supported the Underground Railroad in the pursuit of freedom.”

  • Alexandra McDougle, a biocultural anthropologist who is currently working on her Master’s Degree in Anthropology at American University with a focus on the biological implications of racism and structural violence in black communities. Ms. McDougle is looking forward to gaining a broader understanding of enslavement in Maryland and particularly the ways resistance efforts such as the Underground Railroad connected Free and enslaved communities across Maryland. She is also looking forward to creating and curating public programming about enslavement, utilizing multiple methods of audience outreach to reach communities across and outside of Maryland, along with making historical sites more engaging and accessible to all audiences
  • Kamryn Nelson, a candidate for a Bachelor of Arts degree in History at Howard University with a focus on becoming a historian of the African Diaspora. Kamryn served as a former intern of Senator Kamala Harris and believes this experience will help him gain a new perspective on analyzing and interpreting African-American History and Culture. Kamryn hopes that his research will assist communities in Maryland to easier access and better information regarding the ties between slavery and African Americans based on certain sites. Kamryn stated, “I see many African-American communities’ youth who don’t know much about their history and culture. To break this cycle is my end goal and being a part of a Fellowship like this would be the first step to achieving this goal.”
  • Angela Bailey earned her BA in Anthropology with a minor in museum studies from St. Mary’s College of Maryland and is currently in a dual Master's Degree program in Applied Anthropology and Historic Preservation at the University of Maryland. She is focusing on historic archaeology and is interested in studying the history of slavery in the mid-Atlantic on plantation sites. She has experience with working on archaeological excavations in Southern Maryland and is currently a federal collections intern at the Maryland Archaeological Conservation Lab. Angela is looking forward to collaborating with the fellows and local communities in researching the Underground Railroad in Maryland to create accessible historic resources.
  • Matthew LaRoche, currently pursuing a dual Masters’ degree in Library Science and 19th-Century U.S. History at the University of Maryland, College Park, spent his undergraduate years at Gettysburg College interning for the National Park Service at Harpers Ferry and Gettysburg. Matt has made it a passion to introduce the public to history, interpretation, and preservation that produces narratives that are both precise and emotionally resonant. Matt is currently working with Preservation Maryland to research Underground Railroad sites for nomination to the Network to Freedom Project. Matt stated, “History demands to be reckoned with, perhaps now more than ever, and doing so takes effort, creativity, and community. In a very real sense, there is nowhere else I would rather be.”

“We are thrilled the Maryland Office of Tourism has chosen these four fellows to continue to contribute to telling the stories of the Underground Railroad in Maryland,” said Dr. Rex Ellis, chair of the 400 Years of African American History Commission.

Duties for the fellows will include examining primary and secondary sources in an effort to glean biographical and historical information about specific individuals and locations related to the Underground Railroad and slavery in Maryland, writing National Park Service National Underground Network to Freedom applications for qualifying sites, curating the Google business listings of current Maryland Network to Freedom members, presenting a public program about the research and findings, and recording results in database and web environments. Research and all projects will be completed from January 2021 through May 2021.

About Maryland Department of Commerce Office of Tourism

The Maryland Office of Tourism is an agency within the Maryland Department of Commerce. Visitors to the state spent $18.6 billion on travel-related expenses in 2019. The Maryland tourism industry also generated $2.6 billion in state and local taxes essentially saving Maryland households $1,175 in annual taxes. The industry provided Marylanders with 150,000 jobs. For more information, go to