Underground Railroad Education Center

Albany, NY
November 28, 2025 – January 9, 2026

Mission: Underground Railroad Education Center researches and preserves the local and national history of the Underground Railroad movement, its international connections, and its legacy for today’s social justice issues, thereby empowering people of all ages to be agents of change toward an equitable and just society.

Inspired by the reclamation of the voices of the Underground Railroad activists written out of American history, the Underground Railroad Education Center (UREC) seeks to empower multi-age, diverse audiences through education, dialogue, and program experiences to learn about the work of historic justice activists and explore their relationship with us today. Located in the historic Stephen and Harriet Myers Residence, a headquarters for Underground Railroad activity in the Capital Region in the mid-1850s, UREC places the work of the Black abolitionists in their national and international context and relates their work to today's justice efforts.

The Stephen and Harriet Myers Residence is located in a community that has been and continues to live with the real-life effects of the legacy of the institution of enslavement. The center is a beacon that boldly proclaims the significant contributions made to the American narrative by Black abolitionists and those who followed in their footsteps working for justice. UREC places the work of the Black abolitionists in their national and international context and relates their work to today's justice efforts. The specific relationship with voting is that Stephen Myers and his colleagues petitioned the NYS government for the right of Black men to vote through the New York Suffrage Association in the 1850s.

Everything in the UREC collections and archives reflects Black American efforts at participating fully in American Democracy - The Residence, built by John Johnson who was a Black boat Captain of sufficient wealth to be able to build a 10 room, Greek Revival home with gas-lighting, closets, medallions, and crown molding; the period furniture reflective of the type of furniture that would have been part of the world of Stephen and Harriet Myers; the Chattel Mortgages that identify personal belongings of the Myers as well as their socio-economic status; the Vigilance Committee flier that reflects the leadership role of Stephen Myers, in collaboration with other Black colleagues, that claims community support of the work of the Vigilance Committee; a letter and obituary of Harriet Myers that reflect her efforts to not be intimidated by the laws and protocols of the day; the artifacts that reflect the work of Dr. Thomas Elkins, Black medical doctor. Also, the recounting of Underground Railroad history by UREC, spoken of as a new interpretation of an old story, reflects the efforts of Black abolitionists and freedom seekers to push back against what they believed was an unjust system of bondage and boldly claim the rights they believed should be available to every American. All of this is placed within the context of national and international history and efforts through time to claim full participation in American Democracy. While there is more to the story than can be effectively shared through this vehicle, UREC focuses on full participation in American Democracy.

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