Fun, New App Explores The Western Underground Railroad System Throughout The State Of Missouri

"The Western Underground Railroad" app uncovers little known history about the state's involvement in ending slavery

For the first time, history enthusiasts now have an opportunity to learn the significant role Missouri played in helping thousands of slaves escape to freedom during the height of the American Civil War. Best of all, they can do it from the comfort of their smartphone.

“I have always loved history because it is like a detective story, and the answers I obtain about how this country developed help me make more sense out of current events,” stated the app’s creator, Gary Jenkins.

The Underground Railroad was a network of secret routes and safe houses used by 19th-century enslaved people of African descent in the United States in efforts to escape to free states and Canada with the aid of abolitionists and allies who were sympathetic to their cause.

Jenkins’ app guides users to 14 Underground Railroad sites north from slave state Missouri to “freedom land” in Canada. The Mark Twain Museum, Mary Meachum Freedom Crossing and Old Courthouse in “The Show Me State”—are just a few of the historic sites that once helped pave the road to freedom for black slaves.

“I like the Wakarusa Valley Heritage Museum because the director is a published expert on this section of the Underground Railroad, and the museum reflects that knowledge,” stated Jenkins. “My next favorite is John Brown’s Cave and the Mayhew Cabin because that museum is mainly dedicated to the UGRR, and they have an actual tunnel that kids can explore.”

Jenkins was inspired to create the app after producing a documentary titled “Freedom Seekers: Stories from the Western Underground Railroad.” The film educated viewers on the Underground Railroad along the Missouri/Kansas border.

“I found that there were little UGRR museums and preserved historical sites along this path,” stated Jenkins. “I wanted to create an easy and entertaining method to access this historical information.”

The app includes a Google map link to each historic site, a page that tells why the place is important along with a short video clip that gives more information provided by UGRR experts. The app can be downloaded for just .99 cents.

“I hope that users will find their imagination is fire up after being in the actual paths used by these fleeing slaves and intrepid conductors,” expressed Jenkins. “I want area people to be proud of their heritage and history of helping slaves escape bondage.”

Available on Google Play and the iPhone app market, “The Western Underground Railroad” is a must have download for history lovers everywhere.

ABOUT GARY JENKINS: Born and raised in Missouri, Gary Jenkins spent 25 years with the Kansas City Police Department, having investigated the La Cosa Nostra for most of that time. After retirement, he attended law school. Today, he is a practicing attorney as well as documentary filmmaker. His next project will include true crime books about mafia cases investigated heavily by the Kansas City Police Department and the FBI. He is married with two grown children and three grandchildren. To learn more, visit his website:


Categories: Media and News, Education

Tags: American Civil War, slavery, Underground Railroad

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