Law Students Research Vt. Sites

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 4/8/2016 10:00:04 PM
Modified: 4/8/2016 10:00:09 PM

A group of Vermont Law School students is banding together to find and document locations in the White River Valley that may be associated with the Underground Railroad.

The goal, said Jeffrey P. Caesar, a candidate for a master’s degree and a member of the Black Law Student Association at VLS, is to find locations on the Underground Railroad, and have them recognized and preserved.

An ancillary goal is to erect a statue that would honor Harriet Tubman and other abolitionists, and perhaps put up a public mural in town that would commemorate the Underground Railroad, he said in an interview.

“We want to do projects at the local level with community involvement,” he said.

Caesar and a number of other VLS students raised the idea at Royalton Town Meeting in March. “It was very well received by the community,” he said.

Caesar, who grew up in Richmond, Va., and is in his first year at VLS, said that coming from heterogeneous, urban Richmond to homogeneous, rural Vermont was an adjustment on many levels. But hearing support for the project at Town Meeting was encouraging.

“That was so powerful, hearing that even in a space where you’re 15 out of 1,000, your history is very much alive and ingrained in the community in which you exist,” he said.

Caesar noted that the make-up of the VLS student body makes South Royalton a “hyper-hub of diversity.”

He and the other students involved in the Underground Railroad project would like to bring attention to the region’s antebellum and Civil War history for VLS students, the larger community and perhaps even the tourism industry.

“Right now, no one leaves VLS knowing that they came to a place in the U.S. that really embodies freedom and core American values,” Caesar said.

For further information or to contact the VLS Underground Railroad project, email Jeffrey P. Caesar at jeffreycaesar@vermontlaw.edu.

Nicola Smith can be reached at nsmith@vnews.com.




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