Kingsway Students Tour Local Underground Railroad Site

WOOLWICH TWP. — 500 students from Kingsway Middle School toured the historic Mt. Zion A.M.E Church and Cemetery on Garwin Road in Woolwich Township on June 12 and 13. Mt. Zion is on the state and national historic records as important underground railroad sites.

Students had studied about the Underground Railroad in class, so visiting these historic sites made their lessons come alive.

William Corsey, tour guide, told students his family’s history. His great-grandfather escaped from slavery and found refuge at Mt. Zion AME.

Benjamin Carlton, historian and Union Soldier reenactor, taught students about Colored Troop soldiers who fought during the Civil War. There are 13 colored troop soldiers, abolitionists, freedmen, and former slaves buried in Mt. Zion’s cemetery.

Rev. Sherry Hall and Joyce Allen led the tours inside of the church. Students were amazed to hear about Little Gloucester (Freedman’s town), the church’s history, underground railroad facts, and see the trap door where slaves hid.

Joyce Allen portrayed Harriet Tubman and sang Negro Spirituals. Students enthusiastically shouted the names of Jubilee Sharper and Pompey Lewis, founders of the church who were also railroad station operators.

“It was enlightening and enriching to learn of the struggles and successes of the brave men and women who risked their lives to escape crushing bondage, and live free,” wrote Charlynne Pickney, teacher. The students were moved by the presentations.

Many of them remarked that they learned information that they had never heard before. Afterwards, some students even wrote letters to thank the tour guides.

“Providing these educational tours are part of our mission,” said Rev. Sherry Hall, Director of Community Programming. “It is more important today than ever. Some states have made it illegal for teachers to tell the truth about slavery.  We believe that knowing the truth sets people free.”

HELP Inc. seeks to preserve three African-American Sites and provide educational and cultural programming throughout the year.  More information is on its website:

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