Slave Stampedes on the Kentucky Borderlands


According to newspaper reports from the time period, there were at least fifty attempted slave stampedes from Kentucky, beginning in 1847 and continuing through the end of the Civil War.  Perhaps the most notable mass movement of enslaved freedom seekers occurred in 1864 outside of Camp Nelson, which was a "contraband" or Black refugee camp near Lexington.  Over the span of just a couple of months, nearly three thousand enslaved people deluged Camp Nelson, with hundreds of men offering their military service as a way to ensure liberation for their families.  Beginning in September 2022, we have initiated a second phase of the Slave Stampedes on the Southern Borderlands project that will focus on detailing and preserving information about these various attempted group escapes from Kentucky.


DIRECTOR:  Matthew Pinsker (House Divided) is a Professor of History and Pohanka Chair for Civil War History at Dickinson College, where he also serves as Director of the House Divided Project. Pinsker graduated from Harvard College and received a D.Phil. degree in Modern History from the University of Oxford.  He has held visiting fellowships with the New America Foundation in Washington, DC, the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, PA, and the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. He is the author of two books and numerous articles on Abraham Lincoln and various topics in the Civil War era and the history of slavery.  Pinsker will serve as director and principal investigator (PI) for the slave stampedes project.

NPS REPRESENTATIVE (KENTUCKY):  Sheri Jackson is the Southeast Regional Program Manager for the NPS Network to Freedom, based in Atlanta, Georgia.  Jackson has worked for the National Park Service for nearly 30 years, including nearly twenty of those years with the Network to Freedom.  Jackson is currently the ATR for the Slave Stampedes on the Kentucky Borderlands phase of this project.

ASSISTANT DIRECTOR:  Cooper Wingert is a PhD student in History at Georgetown University.  He received a BA in History from Dickinson College.  Wingert is the author of ten books on topics in the Civil War, slavery, and the Underground Railroad.


Interns contributing to this project have included Dickinson College undergraduates Forbes, Charlotte Goodman, and Jordan Schucker, as well as Mechanicsburg Area HS student Gabe Pinsker.


Camp Nelson National Monument (Nicholasville, KY)

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