Attorney, author and documentary filmmaker Gary Jenkins
will present a screening of his film, “Freedom Seekers”
Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 6 p.m.
The screening will take place at the Rolling Hills Consolidated Library Annex (upper level of the building)
located at 1904 North Belt Highway in Saint Joseph, Mo.
“Freedom Seekers” tells the story of how political conditions in Kansas and Missouri created the opportunity for the Underground Railroad along the western frontier. The film reveals the secrets of the Western Underground Railroad. This film uses primary source documents, experts, moving readings and dramatic depictions to tell exciting stories of Underground Railroad activities. Viewers will see the pristine ruins of Quindaro, the Kansas town where every resident was a Stationmaster or Conductor.
Incorporated into the 2 hour program, Mr. Jenkins will share insights into his film “Freedom Seekers,” as well as his film, “Negroes for Hire,” which illustrates how Missouri’s slavery system differed dramatically from the South. “Negroes for Hire” incorporates testimony from former slaves about their lives through recordings of the Missouri Slave Narratives by the Federal Writers Project.
Mr. Jenkins will also discuss certain locally-associated historical events, including the Dr. Doy matter. Dr. John Doy, a founding father of Lawrence, was captured by slave hunters from Missouri while attempting to lead a group of former slaves north to Iowa on the Underground Railroad. After being captured north of Lawrence, Kansas, Doy and son were jailed in Weston and Platte City, Mo., for the crime of abducting slaves. They were held in Platte City until March 20, 1859 when they were taken to St. Joseph, Mo., for trial. After this trial, Doy’s son was released, but no verdict was reached for Dr. Doy. He was tried again, and at the second trial he was convicted on the bogus charge and sentenced to five years in the penitentiary. Fortunately for Doy, a rescue party of ten men was organized. They assembled at Lawrence and took different routes in order to avoid attention. With a combination of boldness and luck, the rescue party broke Doy out of that St. Joseph jail and returned him to Lawrence without a shot being fired.