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National Park Service to Hold UGRR Meeting

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The National Park Service will hold their Annual Underground Railroad Network to Freedom meeting in the Inland Empire from March 29- April 2, 2004. They will tour various local sites, visit schools in both Riverside and San Bernardino and visit Redlands, and Perris.

There will be an all day review of proposals for the Network on Wednesday March 31, 2004 at the Black Voice Media Center at the Bailey Building 1590 Waterman Ave. and the unveiling of the Booker T. Statue and brunch at the Mission Inn on April 2, 2004. The National Park Service is entrusted with the preservation and interpretation of Booker T. Washington’s Virginia birthplace home.

For several years now The Black Voice News has researched and promoted Booker T. Washington and his fascinating connection to the Inland Empire.

“In fact, two years ago we organized a symposium to commemorate his 1914 visit to Riverside with the assistance of several committed individuals throughout the Inland Empire. It was during that time that we learned of an earlier visit he made in 1903 when he delivered addresses in Ontario and Claremont.

We also learned that Washington had developed a strong friendship with Frank Miller, Keeper of the Mission Inn Hotel in Riverside, and it was at his request that prompted Washington’s 1914 visit,” said Black Voice News Co-Publisher Cheryl Brown.

"Personally, my interest in Booker T. Washington began years ago when John Dabney, a local professor, gave me a class assignment to compare and contrast the philosophies of W.E.B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington. Never in my wildest imagination did I think I would ever meet any of his descendents or become close associates for over a decade. When I met Edith Washington Johnson, his granddaughter, I told her about the famous photograph of her grandfather with Miller.

For years, I talked to her about my dream to have an event that focused on Washington’s visit. When we finally hosted the event, Edith and her sister Gloria were on hand to meet 500 school children, teachers and the community at large. Sadly it was to be her last trip. When she returned home to Ohio she passed away," said Brown.

Duane Roberts, the current "Keeper of the Inn" has offered to place the sculpture in a premier area in front of the hotel and Bernard Edmonds, a local artist, has been commissioned to create the piece.

Margaret Washington Clifford, one of his granddaughters will be present for the unveiling.

Everyone can be involved in the event and will be recognized at the brunch that follows the unveiling. There is even a place for children, everyone can be a part of the bust.

Emancipator: $3,000-$5,000; Founder: $1,500 - $2,500; Educator: $100 - $1,000; Freedom Seekers: children are asked to contribute $1.00. Make checks payable to Black Voice Foundation, Inc P.O. Box 1581 Riverside, CA 92502.

Unveiling & Brunch

All day review of proposals for the Network on Wednesday March 31, 2004 at the Black Voice Media Center at the Bailey Building 1590 Waterman Ave. April 2, 2004, Booker T. Bust Unveiling and Brunch at the Mission Inn.

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