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Messages - sbthomas

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« on: March 01, 2007, 12:03:01 am »
Dear Dan,

As the date for departure along the UGRR arrives more and more personal stories have come to the surface.  Thank you so very much for sharing yours below.

Last week our NBC-TV station broadcast "Riding through Black History" a 30 min. special on the UGRR Bike Route with interviews of staff from CMH and AC.  Click below to see the adversistemnt I posted on YouTube:

Please confirm you can access the link.  Click on more from this user... and see the other postings on our work in the Healthy Black Family Project:


"Be the change you seek in the world", Stephen

« on: February 11, 2007, 10:15:22 am »
Stephen, you know that in the 1830's Pittsburgh's African American
>leaders were simultaneous Underground Railroad leaders as well. A group
>of black Pittsburghers had a replica of the Liberty Bell moulded in a
>local foundry and had it shipped to Canada, to a community of former
>slaves who they had helped escape on the Railroad.
>Well, the descendents of that community of escaped slaves continues to
>thrive in a town called Buxton, and they fondly remember the support of
>Pittsburgh African Americans, symbolized by the bell. Recently, they
>had a replica of the aging bell made and they will unveil in on Feb. 14
>in Tononto. Then the bell will be brought to the African Canadian
>museum in Buxton. They will have a special dedication of the bell at
>their annual reunion on Labor Day, 2007.
>They would very much like a delegation of African Americans from
>Pittsburgh to join them for this special occasion. I have been keeping
>Dr. Johnnie Monroe, of Grace Presbyterian Church appraised of my
>communication with the Buxton family, because the black Presbyterians
>were particularly significant in Afriacn American leadership of the
>time and the Underground Railroad.
>The letter sent with the bell was signed by two persons, on behalf of
>the "coloured community of Pittsburgh." They were Mr. Peck and Mr.
>Vashon. The Buxton community asks if we can find any of their
>descendents to join us there as well.
>This could be a very exciting event. Let me know if you're interested.
>Sala Udin

"Be the change you seek in the world", Stephen

« on: January 16, 2007, 10:03:58 am »

My wife Linda and I have been cyclists for about 25 years. As a freshman in college in 1970, I flunked physical education because I couldn't run 600 yards or do one pushup. Trying to get in shape by jogging just wasn't fun, and I didn't persist.

In 1982, we heard our pastor and another friend talking about the bike ride they'd done the previous day, 50 miles in the Applachians where we then lived. ("You did what?!")  I borrowed a bike, rode 2 miles, was exhausted -- and hooked.

In 2002, Linda and I rode Adventure Cycling's TransAmerica route from Yorktown, VA, to Missoula, then north to connect with their Northern Tier route, and ended at Bay View, WA, just across Padilla Bay from Anacortes. 4269.4 miles. Although we don't plan another ride that long until I retire, we are
planning to ride part of the Underground Railroad route this summer.

Linda's involved with The Intersection, a local community development effort, and we've decided to use this summer's ride to raise money for and awareness of the Intersection. We appreciate the Center's role in helping Adventure Cycling map the route. Having read Bordewich's book, I now understand a bit more about what trying to escape slavery was really like. It is history worth telling.


"Be the change you seek in the world", Stephen

Underground Railroad / Western Reserve Greenway
« on: January 05, 2006, 10:48:44 pm »

Thanks so much for the news.  The response across the nation has been excellent and our aim is to be as inclusive as possible.

Stephen Thomas

"Be the change you seek in the world", Stephen

Underground Railroad / route thoughts
« on: June 23, 2005, 07:00:42 pm »
Thank you very much for the thoughtful message on factors to consider in the UR bicycle route.  We have a draft map, but I do not know how to attach it to this message.  Let me investigate


"Be the change you seek in the world", Stephen

Underground Railroad / route thoughts
« on: October 04, 2004, 10:14:44 am »

I was focused on something Sunfisher wrote:

"a trail that does not get used is not worth the effort to put together."

While I agree, I am not sure what comes first. What do we know about the level of usage for existing AC routes? I serve on the Board of the Rails to Trails Conservency and raised the same question.  It it enough to create a Rail Trail regardless of usage? Clearly we must do both.  What good is a great trail if no one knows about it? With the UR bike route we are trying to do both. Build the route and build public awareness at the same time.

"Be the change you seek in the world", Stephen

This message was edited by sbthomas on 10-4-04 @ 6:23 AM

Underground Railroad / route thoughts
« on: October 04, 2004, 10:00:00 am »

I am pleased to read this discussion regarding both the historic record and the spirit of the underground railroad and the implications for the bike route. Clearly we must include locations in the South. I also agree that the creation of the UR route can make a meaingful contribution toward healing the racial divide. This is one of our original intents.  The route must also be "true" to history as well as practical.  Another aim is to have people actually use the route, both for exercise and for exercising the mind and spirit about an important defining period in the history of our nation.

From where I sit, the key is to begin the process with an open mind. I want to thank both of you for getting the discussion started.


« on: July 14, 2004, 10:45:09 am »

As we embark on creating the Underground Railroad Bicycle Route we can expect to be changed by the experience.  We must all be aware, at all times, of how the history of slavery and the struggle to freedom is one of the defining moments in the history of human civilization.  Thus, it is important that we document the impact of this experience on our own personal, professional and organizational lives.  Some of what we learn will be painful and shameful... as well as hopeful and a source of strength.  The most important thing is that we fully engage in the process of learning.

So, I am very pleased to introduce you to a very special website created by the Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture, The New York Public Library working in partnership with the UNESCO Slave Route Project to mark the United Nations General Assembly's resolution proclaiming 2004 as the International Year to Commemorate the Struggle against Slavery and its Abolition.  


Here are hints for reviewing:
1.  The pictures below lead to the text.
2.  Press the down arrow for more text.
3.  Press "more" for additional text for that picture.
4.  Go to the next picture.

Please follow the links below and share your thoughts on the Underground Railroad Discussion Forum on the Adventure Cycling website:

This message was edited by sbthomas on 7-14-04 @ 6:46 AM

Underground Railroad / Mapping the Undergound Railroad Route
« on: July 12, 2004, 10:22:25 pm »
In a message dated 7/12/2004 12:15:13 PM Eastern Daylight Time, Carla Majernik writes:

>Mr. Holland:
>At this point the route that will be mapped hasn't been determined yet.
>We're in the beginning stages of figuring out where it will go, with
>the help of interested parties. We are partnering with the Center of
>Minority Health. You might want to contact Dr. Stephen Thomas, the
>director of CMH, and talk with him:
>Carla Majernik
>Routes and Mapping Department Director
>Adventure Cycling Association
>Inspiring people of all ages to travel by bicycle.
>150 E. Pine St., Missoula, MT 59802
>406-721-1776, ext. 218, FAX 406-721-8754

Underground Railroad / Mapping the Undergound Railroad Route
« on: July 12, 2004, 10:21:53 pm »
On Jul 8, 2004, at 1:05 PM, wrote:
>> I'm very interested in this tour.  What is the route through western
>> Pennsylvania?  I worked on a project 12 years ago to identify African
>> American historic sites in Allegheny County.  Perhaps the tour could
>> highlight some of these sites.  Or, perhaps we could partner with you
>> to offer this to our Members.
>> Thanks,
>> Dan Holland
>> Founder and Chair,
>> Young Preservationists Association of Pittsburgh
>> work:  412.261.7947
>> --
>> "Give Life to History"(SM)

Underground Railroad / Mapping the Undergound Railroad Route
« on: July 12, 2004, 10:21:07 pm »
Dear Dan,

Your note below is Outstanding !! I am on my way to DC for a meeting... back on last tomorrow in office all day on Wed.  I will share your note below with our team.  Thanks again...


Underground Railroad / Mapping the Undergound Railroad Route
« on: July 12, 2004, 10:20:31 pm »
Dr. Thomas:
The Young Preservationists Association of Pittsburgh would like to assist you in mapping some of the Underground Railroad sites in southwestern PA for the bicycle tour that is being planned.  We have Board Members and contacts in nearly every county, and Larry Glasco, a professor of African American history at Pitt, is on our Advisory Committee.

Let me know how we can help.
-Dan Holland, Chair

Underground Railroad / Mapping the Undergound Railroad Route
« on: July 12, 2004, 10:20:00 pm »
Please post ideas and feedback on our methods and procedures to map the route

Underground Railroad / Pittsburgh Major Taylor Cycling Club
« on: July 11, 2004, 04:06:54 pm »
Attached is an article that recently appeared in Pennsylvania Health and Fitness Magazine. It points out some bicycling routes and resources around Pittsburgh and PA in general that I though may be of interest.

Today I mailed a few samples of our "Before You Go" Handbook to Dr. Thomas. It is a planning a preparation guide designed for the participants of our events like American Explorer. Pass 'em around and have a look. A bit closer to the trip, those that sign up will receive more detailed logistical information specific to that tour, as well as a copy of the Before You Go handbook.

Larry Diskin
Outreach and Education Coordinator

Adventure Cycling Association
Inspiring people of all ages to travel by bicycle.
(800) 755-2453 x220 toll free, (406) 721-1776 x220 phone, (406) 721-8754 fax
[ ]

Underground Railroad / Pittsburgh Major Taylor Cycling Club
« on: July 11, 2004, 04:05:36 pm »

I am please to report that we have launched the Pittsburgh Major Taylor Cycling Club.    We created the club  as a way to organize ourselves and create a social support network.  Most of us have never been on a "tour" and some of us do not have bicycles.  But we make up for it all with heart and soul. Please reply to this message with tips on how to get started.  Thanks in advance...


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