Unveiling the Unending Story of the Fight For Freedom From the Underground Railroad Freedom Center

The grand opening celebration of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, on Monday, August 23 2004 significantly coinciding with the United Nations' annual International Day of Commemoration for the Abolition of Slavery was itself a landmark event in the history of the struggles for freedom worldwide. The festivities to mark the occasion were most significant in not only recognizing the abolition of slavery in the past, but also for today's struggle to free over 27 million people currently enslaved all around the world.

The national Underground Railroad Freedom Centre therefore in the grandeur of its opening was drawing attention to the odiousness of the act of trading in human beings and all the other accompanying inhumanities involved.  It was as well an opportunity for us to rejoice in its abolition and immortalize the valiant men and women who stood up against it often selflessly in the past so that those of us in the present will emulate their acts of courage in defending humanity and human values wherever we see them been trampled upon.

The opening of the Freedom Centre which was the culmination of 10 years of planning and collaboration with Underground Railroad communities, universities, and cultural groups from across the United States included a "Grounds for Freedom" procession of freedom sites, an inter-ethnic Festival of Freedom, lighting the Flame of Freedom, exhibitions, amongst other activities.

Activities began with a live broadcast from the Freedom Center grounds by CBS Early Show. The NBA, ABC Good Morning America, MTV, Chat the Planet, C-Span as well as WCPO-9 live news and web cast were amongst other special broadcasts and taping that enlivened the occasion. A live satellite feed was broadcast to the Harriet Beecher Stowe House in Rochester, Connecticut, where a dedication party was being hosted. The History Channel added to the glory of the event when it broadcast a special documentary on the Underground Railroad.