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Making their mark : the signature of slavery at Mammoth Cave

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The lives and loves of slaves who served the Mammoth Cave Estate have long been some of Mammoth Cave's best kept secrets. During more than 125 years of private ownership, the world passed through iron gates into Mammoth Cave's serene and lofty entrance. By 1840, the most affluent of travelers ventured into the cave's darkness, following young men who were themselves bound by slavery, a conflicted institution struggling to continue in Kentucky and Southern states. Abolition, the Civil War and emancipation evolved both above and below ground for the Mammoth Cave community. The era left a legacy forged by men like Stephen Bishop, Mat and Nick Bransford, Ed Bishop, Bob Lively and Ed Hawkins--the children of slavery who grew up to lead men and women of all nations They led them into the majestic, mysterious and sometimes frightening labyrinth called Mammoth Cave. These black guides provided comfort, humor, safety and intellect. In return, visitors gave them news of places far removed from the cave-riddled realm of Edmonson County, Kentucky. When visitors recorded accounts of their Mammoth Cave experiences in journals and diaries, they also wrote about their encounters with enslaved or freed black guides and hotel servants. In sharing their memories, the authors gave these cave guides and explorers something very precious. They gave them an immortality only the written word can give. To modern-day cavers, these enslaved men of Mammoth Cave and the sons who shared their legend are more than predecessors. They are heroes.

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Honeoye Public Library 306.3 (Text)
Adult Nonfiction

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