The National Park Service’s National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom accepted Vann House, owned and managed by Georgia State Parks, as a site in the network.
It joins 18 new listings from the 42nd round of Network to Freedom applications. This new listing, alongside over 695 others already in the Network, provides insight into the experiences of freedom seekers who escaped slavery and those who assisted them.
Twice per calendar year, the Network to Freedom reviews and accepts applications from sites, facilities and programs with verified connections to the Underground Railroad.
Diane Miller, the National Program manager, said, “We are eager to work alongside our new members sharing Underground Railroad history with the public.”
Cherokee Chief James Vann owned the largest plantation in the Cherokee Nation; the house is in present day Chatsworth. Vann enslaved at least 100 Black individuals. Moravian missionaries, brought to proselytize and instruct Cherokee children, also lived on his plantation. Many of the stories of freedom seekers come from their journals.
In 1809 at age 44, Vann was murdered, and people continued to escape from the plantation as the control of the property fell to Vann’s overseer and later to his son, Joseph. In 1835, the Vann family, along with other Cherokees, were forced west on the Trail of Tears to Oklahoma.
“Each time we accept new listings, we are reminded of the power Underground Railroad histories hold today,” said Miller. “The stories of freedom seekers, who risked everything to claim their liberty, continue to inspire us every time we read a new application.”
Vann House is open to the public, but operations may be limited due to the outbreak of COVID-19. For the most current information, visit gastateparks.org/chiefvannhouse. Follow them on Facebook @friendsofthechiefvannhouse and on Instagram at Vann_house_park.
Network to Freedom
The National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom serves to honor, preserve and promote the history of resistance to enslavement through escape and flight, which continues to inspire people worldwide. The network currently represents over 695 locations in 39 states, plus Washington D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Through its mission, the Network to Freedom helps to advance the idea that all human beings embrace the right to self-determination and freedom from oppression.
For more information, visit https://www.nps.gov/ntf.