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Mar 29

Iowa Underground Railroads

Tue / March 29, 2022
7:00 pm – 8:00 pm / Ames Public Library, 515 Douglas Ave.

Join the Ames Public Library for a presentation by the Ames History Museum. David Connon, independent researcher, writer, and historical interpreter, will present “Josiah Bushnell Grinnell and the Iowa Underground Railroad.”

“Preacher,” “congressman,” “negro-stealer”: Josiah Bushnell Grinnell was called all of those things during his life. He was called a negro-stealer because he participated in the Iowa Underground Railroad. Though some residents opposed this work, Grinnell and other Grinnell residents helped at least 37 fugitive slaves who passed through their town before the Civil War.

Connon will tell a story of racism, noble actions and conflict and highlight abolitionist John Brown’s visit to Grinnell, Grinnell’s first riot over the presence of fugitive slaves in the public school and Grinnell’s noteworthy connection to Ames.

Participants may attend in person at the Library’s Auditorium or online via Zoom. To participate online, register for this free event at

Provided in partnership with Ames Public Library and Ames History Museum. Program funded by Humanities Iowa, a private, non-profit state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.