The Underground Railroad in Frankford
In celebration of Black History Month, we are working with artist Ken Johnston on two special events that highlight the history of the underground Railroad in Frankford. Join us for an online discussion on February 17th and in-person for a latern-making workshop and walk in Frankford on February 25th.
Up The Creek: The Frankford Underground Railroad Light Parade
An art workshop and lantern light parade to honor the Underground Railroad in Frankford
February 25th, 2022 (rain date February 28th)
Garsed Center : 4704 Leiper St, Philadelphia, PA
Led by walking artist Ken Johnston
FREE – lanterns, materials, and hot drinks provided.
Open to all
1 mile walk starting at Garsed Center.
Join us for a community light parade retracing Frankford’s Underground Railroad history. Lanterns are provided or bring your own lights or noisemakers – if it glows, it goes!
Adults and children are invited to come decorate a lantern before the parade.
For enslaved Africans, Philadelphia was the threshold of freedom, and the nearby Delaware River was an important escape route. While most commercial ship traffic on the Delaware River traveled downstream, the Underground Railroad flowed in reverse. Walk with Ken and discover why Frankford’s location was the best kept open secret for freedom seekers.
All participants must be masked throughout the event. Registration for the workshop is capped at 25 people to enable social distancing indoors.
Freedom on the Delaware River: The Maritime UndergroundRailroad
Online lecture with walking artist Ken Johnston on the history of the Underground Railroad in Frankford
February 17, 2022 – 7pm EST (Online via Zoom)
Register here for this online event (*Must pre-register for the event to receive link)
For enslaved Africans, Philadelphia was the threshold of freedom,
and the nearby Delaware River was an important escape route. While most commercial ship traffic on the Delaware River traveled downstream, the Underground Railroad flowed in reverse. Tune in to learn more about Ken’s research into the river’s role helping people escape from slavery, and his artistic process for his project Up The Creek in Frankford next week.
**To receive the latest updates on event you must to pre-register. Dates and times subject to change.
Ken Johnston is a Philadelphia-based walking artist, who responds to the call of social change and history by walking to put Movement back in the civil rights movement.
During the past two years, Ken has retraced the footsteps of Harriet Tubman’s movements between known Underground Railroad communities from Maryland to New York City.
While raising awareness on the importance of protecting and preserving hard-earned Civil Rights, Ken works on building community through lantern making engagement activities. He uses lanterns for shining light on issues to bring communities closer together.
In 2018, he successfully completed a 400-mile solo walking journey across the Deep South for MLK50 from Selma, Alabama to Memphis, Tennessee visiting the many places Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. either worked, pastored, or led peaceful protests.
Internationally, he has walked across Ireland symbolically linking its short lived Civil Rights movement with the U.S., and across Puerto Rico on the two year anniversary of Hurricane Maria following the trajectory of the devastating storm’s path.
When Ken is not walking he enjoys planning and creating public lantern events while researching his next adventure. His professional background is in career development and human services.