Barry Jurgensen presents “Forever Free: Walk into History” in honor of Black History Month

Barry Jurgensen presents “Forever Free: Walk into History” in honor of Black History Month

February 18, 2019, 8:00 a.m. CDT
Contact Jason Hogue, Peru State College Marketing and Communications, 402-872-2429

Peru, Nebraska – In honor of Black History Month, Barry Jurgensen presented “Forever Free: Walk into History” for the Peru State College campus. The campus presentation was co-sponsored by Peru State’s Black Student Union and Phi Alpha Theta/Social Science Club in conjunction with the Mayhew Cabin of Nebraska City.

Jurgensen describes himself as a passionate history teacher. He is also the creator of Forever Free, a high school program that researches the Underground Railroad and creates awareness for modern day slavery

The presentation at Peru State recounted the attempts made by those looking to escape slavery in the Midwest via the Underground Railroad. Jurgensen discussed the two walks he did from Nebraska City to Chicago to retrace the route of two of these slaves: Eliza and Celia.

Jurgensen spoke in the CATS Building.

Barry Jurgensen taking questions at the end of his Peru State presentation.

The Fremont Tribune writes, “Showing how history repeats itself, Jurgensen shared stories of old-time abolitionists and fugitive slaves along with recent findings from the Women’s Fund of Omaha, which indicate that — every month — 900 individuals are sold for sex in Nebraska, often multiple times, and how commercial sex advertising reaches nearly every town and city along Interstate 80.”

Students were encouraged to do their part by helping create awareness for modern day slavery, learning how to identify someone who is being trafficked, and realizing that they can do something to make a change. There are several groups within Omaha and Lincoln that work to battle human trafficking, such as The Set Me Free Project, I’ve Got a Name and Tiny Hands.

The Mayhew Cabin with John Brown’s Cave Museum in Nebraska City interprets the history of the Underground Railroad in Nebraska.  The Mayhew Cabin was the first site in Nebraska to be recognized by the National Park Service’s Network to Freedom.

The purpose of the Peru State College Black Student Union is to foster a sense of community, stimulate the intellectual, social, cultural, and political growth of all Peru State College students, and provide support for students and the community. The black student union is open for membership to all PSC students of all backgrounds.

Phi Alpha Theta is a professional society whose mission is to promote the study of history through the encouragement of research, good teaching, publication and the exchange of learning and ideas among historians. They seek to bring students, teachers and writers of history together for intellectual and social exchanges, which promote and assist historical research and publication by our members in a variety of ways.

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Alexa Cline contributed to this press release.