Written by Nahoko Vigneau, M.Ed.,
TRA-Brockton ABE 1 Instructor

TRA-Brockton’s ABE 1 class attended the presentation: The Underground Railroad and its impact in “Old Bridgewater” at Bridgewater State University (BSU) on Thursday, May 9, 2019. This field trip was scheduled to reinforce what students studied about the lives of runaway slaves and the movements of abolitionists during the Civil War in the US History curriculum. Prior to this trip, students read the biographies of Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman and studied the historical background around the Civil War. When I introduced this unit, my students told me that they had never heard of the famous African-American abolitionists. They know now how much impact they made in our US history.

The presenter was Willie Wilson, a Brockton historian and former history teacher at Brockton High School. When Wilson showed us some slides of the familiar places in our backyard, “Old Bridgewater,” that abolitionists actually used to help runaway slaves, our students were fascinated. When they learned that one of the runaway slave girls, Lilly, was buried in West Bridgewater, they wanted to visit her grave. They were also excited to see the actual quilt that contained secret messages used to help slaves escape through the Underground Railroad. It was amazing!

This was a night that history came to life for our students. They also enjoyed the hospitality and welcoming spirit of the faculty members at Bridgewater State University, and this experience definitely inspired them to strive to go to college someday.

Photo of TRA-Brockton ABE 1 Class:
Second row from front to back: Maria Veiga, Teodora Pereira, Patricia Soares, Marie Rosier, Fadeline Blanc
First row from front to back: Nahoko Vigneau (ABE I Instructor), Aurisa Spencer

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