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Indiana Historical Bureau

Underground Railroad > "Bury Me in a Free Land: The Abolitionist Movement in Indiana", by Gwen Crenshaw > An Exhibit Overview An Exhibit Overview

The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 prohibited slavery and involuntary servitude in the territory from which Indiana was formed. Although the Indiana Constitution of 1816 retained that prohibition, the strong southern influences in the state continued in conflict with the settlers—both white and free black—who were antislavery advocates.

Until slavery was abolished by the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1865, Indiana was torn politically and socially by the many-faceted conflicts involved in antislavery causes, abolitionism, the Underground Railroad, enforcement of fugitive slave laws, the prohibition of black emigration in Indiana's Constitution of 1851, and the devastation of the Civil War.

The triumphs and tragedies of the crusade are those of the individuals—those intrepid pilgrims—whose sacrifices combined to achieve the goals of freedom. The abolitionist movement in Indiana and the United States in the nineteenth century set in motion wheels of change that continue to turn in the present day.

The Exhibit Artists: Nannette Y. Blair, Harriet Y. Holman, Alfred Mitcham, Eleyes Y. Reeves, and Paula Scott-Frantz.

The Advisory Board: Pamela J. Bennett, Leslie A. Harris, William Johnson, Douglas Landers, Monroe H. Little, Ronald Newlin, Robert O'Neill, William Scott, William E. Taylor, Stanley Warren, Donald West, Florabelle Wilson, and Mary Yore.

Donors to the Exhibit: Lucille Anderson, Art Association of Richmond, Adena Charlton, Mrs. & Mrs. Walter Edwards, Greater Lafayette Museum of Art, Archives Division (Indiana Commission on Public Records), Indiana Historical Society Library, Indiana Division of the Indiana State Library, Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites, Jefferson County Commissioners, William Johnson, Allen F. Kime, Levi Coffin Association, and Richard P. Ratcliff.

Laying the Foundation

"Bury Me in a Free Land" chapter listing