a presentation by FOSA member Dr. Don Rankin

From the perspective of someone with biracial family ties, Dr. Don Rankin will chronicle the development of slavery in America and the heroic efforts of those who championed the abolishment of slavery. The origin and development of the underground railroad will be discussed. The related roles of Harriet Beecher Stowe through her book, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Abolitionists John P. Parker, Rev John Rankin, William Lloyd Garrison and many others will be shared through a slide presentation, including recent excavations undertaken at the house of Reverend Rankin, in Ripley, Ohio.

The following consists of the slide show that Dr. Rankin presents, including segments of his talk that are appropriate to each slide; along with appropriate text items to help explain the images. Where links to other website articles would be appropriate, they've been incorporated into the image flow.

  • When listening to the talk, please note that the length of each image's speaking segment will vary considerably.
  • Note that you do NOT have to listen to the whole talk segment, but can simply move to the next image if you like.
  • Similarly, you do NOT have to move to the next image as soon as the talk segment is done: It will simply sit there until you move to the next image or you restart the audio of the image you're on.
  • If you decide to examine one of the additional pages noted at the bottom of the image, we STRONGLY suggest that you hit the "Pause" icon before clicking the link to that page. The linked-to page may have its own audio, which will overlay the main one; besides, you could lose your train of thought....

In the talk and/or slides there are several books mentioned, mostly in passing. Following is a list of them:

  • Beacon to Freedom: The Story of a Conductor on the Underground Railroad by Jenna Glatzer (Author) and Ebony Glenn (Illustrator)
  • Beyond the River: The Untold Story of the Heroes of the Underground Railroad by Ann Hagedorn
  • The Free State of Jones: Mississippi's Longest Civil War by Victoria E. Bynum
  • His Promised Land: The Autobiography of John P. Parker, Former Slave and Conductor on the Underground Railroad by John P. Parker and Stuart Seely Sprague
  • Rankin's Letters on American Slavery: Addressed to Mr. Thomas Rankin, Merchant at Middlebrook, Augusta Co. by Rev. John Rankin
  • Hitler's American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law by James Q. Whitman

To begin the presentation, please click  

> For information on the Rev. John Rankin, please click Rev. John Rankin.

> To see samples from the slide presentation, please click slides.

> A forum will be provided for folks to share their thoughts on racism today and ideas to mitigate the various forms of its continuing expression in America.

> For an article from the New Haven Register discussing the forum and its background, from March 30, 2017, please click forum article.

> For a similar article from the Hartford Courant, from April 4, 2017, please click Courant article.

> To see a reprint of an article written by Dr. Rankin on Daniel Hand, a subject of either his talk or of the forum afterwards, please click Daniel Hand.

> To see a video of a discussion between Dr. Rankin and Jan Doyle, on an episode of Branford Public Television's "Classroom Connections" show in this web site, where this subject is discussed -- including a book on this subject: Beyond the River: The Untold Story of the Heroes of the Underground Railroad by Ann Hagedorn, please click YouTube Video and click item 19.

> Lastly, Dr. Rankin is an occasional guest on the Phil Mikan radio show (WLIS/WMRD); and recently he spoke about this presentation, giving background on his family, how his awareness of the slavery issue and his own family's role in its history, and the state of things today. This talk was recorded, and edited to remove 2 commercial breaks. It lasts about an hour.

To access, please click  

Dr. Rankin, a retired Yale-trained physician and surgeon, is a member of the Madison Historical Society, the Friends of the Office of State Archaeology, Friends of Hammonasset, the National Abolition Hall of Fame and St. Andrews Church, Madison, CT.