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Preserving the History of the Underground Railroad with Tony Cohen

Feb 26, 2021 | The Good Dirt Podcast


Welcome to The Good Dirt, Episode 31!

Mary and Emma chat with historian, nonprofit founder, and author Tony Cohen, who has dedicated his studies and work to preserving the Underground Railroad’s history, historic sites and environments. He shares with us his journeys traveling the Underground Railroad on foot, in an effort to capture something of the original travelers’ experiences. Tony also tells the story of meeting Oprah Winfrey and working with her in preparation for her starring role in the film Beloved, based on the book by Toni Morrison. The novel depicts the suffering of an enslaved life and the brutal realities experienced by those seeking an escape. Tony is founder and director of the Menare Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to the preservation of Underground Railroad history and to the creation of vibrant educational programs.

Listen to our conversation below!


1:20 – Mary and Emma check in with the Slow Living Challenge

7:10 – The Spring Grow Your Own Food Intensive

Let’s get into the interview!

8:40 – Tony introduces himself and The Menare Foundation

12:50 – Why start a nonprofit?

17:00 – Tony’s experience walking the route of The Underground Railroad

20:00 – Mary’s land and its connection to The Underground Railroad

27:00 – Tracking down your roots along The Underground Railroad

36:00 – Tony’s connection to the Harriet Tubman Museum

38:00 – How Tony got involved with Oprah Winfrey

49:00 – What is Button Farm?

57:00 – Tony’s work in relationship to Good Dirt


Slow Living Challenge

Grow Your Own Food Intensive Workshop


Button Farm Living History Center

The Menare Foundation

Chesapeake Tours

The Chesapeake Fibershed

Have something to share with The Good Dirt, or an idea for an episode? Email us at podcast@lady-farmer.com


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