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My wife, son, and I traveled to Lawrence, KS last week to attend the University of Kansas (KU) homecoming events and festivities.  One such event was the homecoming football game between Big 12 rivals KU and Nebraska.  (By the way, we beat the crap out of Nebraska; sweet and poetic justice considering when I was a student at KU, Nebraska then a powerhouse football team would just steam roll us.  Scores like 70 to 0 were not uncommon.  So imagine how ecstatic I was when we beat Nebraska 76 to 39!).  But I digress.  I ask: Considering there were over 50,000 people in attendance, what are the odds of sitting next to a older white lady who shares a common interest in the Underground Railroad?  This is amazing to be sure but it gets better.  I told her that I am reading a book entitled, “Bound for Canaan: The Underground Railroad and the War for the Soul of America”, by Fergus M. Bordewich.  I told her that Bordewich speaks of a sympathetic Quaker named Levi Coffin who is considered the founder of the underground movement’s infrastructure.  This movement – later dubbed “America’s first racially integrated civil rights movement” – would eventually help thousands of slaves escape to their freedom.  How does it get better?  She told me that her husband is a descendant of Levi Coffin!  Amazing, you got to be kidding!  Her enthusiasm and excitement was so contagious.  I listened mostly as she told me of ‘stations’ in Kansas that were used to hide slaves and about the background of her husband’s family (mostly ministers who were vehemently opposed to slavery).  My only regret is that I didn’t get her name and number!  What are the odds!

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One Comment

  1. Wow! I am glad you got to have that conversation. What a great story! (Except for the part about the football game):( Nebraska will rise up again though. GBR!


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