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When Thornton and Lucie Blackburn made their bold bid for freedom in 1831 they couldn't have imagined that their love story, which began in Louisville, would provoke a race riot in Detroit; a showdown between the U.S. and Canada over fugitive slaves; an archeological dig in Toronto; and Karolyn Smardz Frost's book, "I've Got a Home in Glory Land: A Lost Tale of the Underground Railroad."
Ms. Frost, a historian and an archeologist, discussed her research at Louisville's Filson Historical Society a few years ago. In recreating the Blackburn's perilous trek from slavery to economic success in Canada, Ms. Frost also explains that Louisville in the 1800s owed its economic prosperity both to its strategic location just above the Falls of the Ohio and to the slaves who labored here. As urban slaves, the Blackburns had a bit more freedom of movement, but they were slaves, nevertheless, and the threat of forced separation was too much for the couple to bear.
Slavery? "Enough already" some say. But books like "I've Got a Home in Glory Land" suggest that we don't know the half of it. And we'd know even less if The Filson Historical Society wasn't around for more than 100 years as a resource for people wishing to know more about Kentucky. If you've never visited the Filson, do so. You'll be enlightened.