Thursday, December 01, 2011

Liberty on The Border Exhibit in Cincinnati, Reviewed in Wall Street Journal

As online coverage of local history and culture has gotten better, I feel a greater obligation to keep one connected to a wider region. Cincinnati isn't exactly close, but it's not that far. Also, Pittsburgh's position in the Civil War's border region makes this show seem relevant.

From The Wall Street Journal

"The museum is well-positioned not only intellectually but physically to tell this complicated story, and it does it well. For the museum sits on the north shore of the Ohio River, the dividing line set forth by the Northwest Ordinance in 1787, which attempted to balance the entry of free and slave-holding states into the union. It was on this border separating Ohio from Indiana and Kentucky that the racial politics and policies of early America met reality.

The main theme of "Liberty's Trials" is Kentucky's efforts to remain neutral during the war. It is often thought of as a Southern state, but slavery was not widespread there. Lexington was an important slave-trading market because of the nearby horse farms and plantations. But much of the rest of Kentucky was against slavery and strongly pro-Union at the start of the war. We see this through maps, biographies and plaques retelling some of the key events that pushed Kentucky from a largely pro-union state at the start of the Civil War to one that was mostly pro-Confederacy toward the end of the war."

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

Through Jan. 6

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