I am so proud to debut the official trailer for a documentary I am executive producing and directing on FOX 5 News. In Footsteps to Freedom, we’ve retraced the hidden roots of the Underground Railroad in New York City and offer viewers unprecedented access to hallowed sites of Abolitionist activity, including Harriet Tubman’s home and a church basement below bustling Brooklyn where slaves hid on their way to freedom. I spoke with historical experts, a descendant of famed abolitionist Frederick Douglass and “Underground” actress Amirah Vann to uncover the often forgotten history of America’s earliest cosmopolitan city.
I’ve been working on this piece for several months now and it has truly become the most special project I’ve ever worked on. The strength and resilience of enslaved people and self-emancipated American heroes like Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass is an endless source of inspiration for me. Sadly, this painful chapter in New York is not well known and much of it is lost to history. Personally, I had no idea that the Underground Railroad was so active in New York and Brooklyn until I picked up Eric Foner’s book Gateway to Freedom. The stakes were inconceivably high for black and white abolitionists which explains the lack of documentation on this subject. I knew I had to share this story in order to honor the legacy of the enslaved people who helped build New York City.
In this trailer you’ll hear the words of William Still, the grand-father of the Underground Railroad, read by my colleague Zachary Kiesch. William Still rescued hundreds of slaves and produced a robust record of the Underground Railroad. William Still implored us not to forget the atrocities enslaved people endured. That is the very least we can do.
“The heroism and desperate struggle that many of our people had to endure should be kept green in the memory of this and coming generations.” — William Still