Georgia-Cumberland Conference of Seventh-day Adventists

Morristown Students Perform Underground Railroad Reenactment

Erika Santos plays the part of a woman running a safe house.
Bounty hunter "Wally Tompins" and his dog, Scarlet O'Hara.
The paper quilt made by the students. The quilt was part of the quilt code, which the slaves used to recognize safe houses.

Students of the Morristown Seventh-day Adventist School presented a celebration on Feb. 23, 2013, of the Underground Railroad. This culminated their study of the US Civil War and paid tribute to those who brought about change during this dark chapter of our nation’s history.

Students in kindergarten through seventh grade served as conductors and guided their passengers (the audience) as they assembled their supplies and began their way through a series of five safe houses on their way to Canada. Along the way, they sang songs of encouragement and maintained a lookout for bounty hunters with their dogs. They found rest and refreshment at the safe houses, which were identifiable to them by a lighted lantern out front and a quilt in the window. For the final leg of their journey, they boarded a rowboat to take them across the river to Canada.

Upon arriving in Canada (the gymnasium), they celebrated by singing songs of deliverance and feasting on gumbo, beans, and cornbread. Students proudly showed guests their writing and poetry and explained the code of the paper quilt they had pieced. Modern legend claims that certain quilt patterns are believed to have held a secret code to aid slaves in their escape.

Morristown students have developed a deeper compassion for the people of that era who were in bondage and a greater understanding of the risks taken by free people who aided them in their journey to freedom.

Written by Kathy Tompkins
Photos contributed