Visiting students trace escaped slaves to the QC

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A group of high school students traveled all the way from Nebraska to get a history lesson. They're telling the stories of those who escaped slavery, the stories that lead them to the Quad Cities.

The student's journey started with one man, Milton Howard. Howard was kidnapped when was a little kid and sold into slavery.

Howard landed in Davenport and later ended up working at the Arsenal. While the students were researching him, they found there were others with similar stories. All were escaped slaves that came to Davenport, one stop on their own journeys.

"They've really been forgotten so people don't necessarily know about these American heroes and we're just kind of telling their stories, they've never been told before," said Ross Miller, a junior at Arlington High School in Arlington, Nebraska.

They went to the Putnam Museum to gather documents and pictures to help with their research.

"You get goosebumps and you're just like 'oh my gosh I cant believe I just found this'. It's almost like you get a little bit closer to the person you're researching," said history teacher Barry Jurgensen.

The biggest piece of their research can be found at the Oakdale Cemetery, where Howard and others were laid to rest. The students will use their research to nominate the cemetery to the Network of Freedom. A program that recognizes those who are associated with the underground railroad.

"They escaped these harsh realities that we'll never know, it's sad, but really inspiring." said student Baylie Higenkau.

The students will also go to the Arsenal where there's a statue of Howard. They'll find out late August 2014 if Oakdale was chosen.