Rich (IN) History: A Trailblazing Community
Updated: Feb 6, 2020
RICHMOND, INDIANA - I ask my myself these two questions often, "What is it that I want in life?”, followed by, "Am I taking the steps necessary to make it happen?"
The majority of the people that came through Richmond wanted freedom, but not just for themselves.. for all of humanity, and the steps that they would be required to take don't even begin to compare to our heaviest burdens today.
The Underground Railroad runs right through Richmond, Indiana. The Levi and Catharine Coffin Home in nearby Fountain City, saw an estimated 3,000 sets of footprints come in and out of the home on their path to freedom. Everyone involved with the Underground Railroad risked their own freedom for the freedom of others, the freedom of future generations and the freedom of themselves. Tough steps to take.
During my time at the Coffin Home, I hid where the runaway slaves hid, I drank where the runaway slaves drank, I stepped through the same doorway that runaway slaves would step through. Tough steps to take.
After crawling out of a space to hide freedom seekers
Richmond rests along the Old National Trail, a road that could be traveled on during broad day. The Trail was a child of the mind of Thomas Jefferson, as he wanted there to be a clear way to get out West.
Until I-70 came about, the Old National Trail/Road did exactly that, carry passengers across the country. As I looked into how travel on the road was before cars were around, I became inspired and began thinking about my own mother.
Women would travel the trail on foot, walking along side their small children, even carrying the ones that couldn't walk on their own. I don't know if anyone on the trail knew exactly where they'd end up, they just knew the wanted to go somewhere new, maybe allow their kids to experience something that they never got the chance to.
I think about the steps that the women of the Old National Trail took to move their families across a growing country. Tough steps to take!
I think about the steps my mother took to get me to where I am... TOUGH TOUGH STEPS!
There are 12 "Madonna's of the Trail" sculptures that stand in each of the 12 states the trail passes through. The Madonna's are there to symbolize the "courage, faith and spirit of the pioneer mothers who helped conquer the wilderness and settle untamed lands." Here are the cities in which they are located:
Wheeling, West Virginia
Council Grove, Kansas
Albuquerque, New Mexico
The Madonna of the Trail in Richmond, Indiana
I still don't know the exact answer to the question that I posed at the beginning of this article. Here's what I do know, no matter what steps I have to take... the people that came before already have started clearing my path.
I shared my whole day in Richmond with this video that can be found on both Youtube and Facebook!