UNDERGROUND RAILROAD: THE SECRET HISTORY set for January 30 premiere on Science Channel

Much of the history of enslaved people in the United States has gone undocumented. Now, cutting edge technology, and the perseverance of archaeologists and historians, is bringing to light the secret pathways, communities and outposts that provided refuge to Freedom Seekers. Experts are also uncovering crucial details about the people behind those locations, and the individuals who made these life-changing journeys.
UNDERGROUND RAILROAD: THE SECRET HISTORY photo/Science Channel
Narrated by actor-director Clark Johnson (Homicide: Life on the Street, The Wire, Your Honor, Percy), UNDERGROUND RAILROAD: THE SECRET HISTORY, a four-part docu-series, premieres Sunday, January 30 at 10 PM ET/PT on Science Channel and streaming on discovery+. Viewers can join the conversation on social media by using the hashtag #UndergroundRailroadTheSecretHistory and follow Science Channel on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for the latest updates.
To be successful, the Underground Railroad had to operate in secrecy – therefore, little written documentation about these journeys exists. Now, new technology and extensive research are revealing that the Underground Railroad’s path not only led north – from southern U.S. states where slavery was legal into free northern states and Canada. But it also took surprising turns to the south, all the way into Florida, Mexico and the Caribbean. The details uncovered also show that stops in the north often proved as dangerous as those in the states from which Freedom Seekers fled.
From secret hideaways located in graveyards just outside of the nation’s capital and underground tunnels originally built by George Washington, to a refuge deep in a swamp, the series uses thermal drones, LiDAR, GPR and GIS to map and record the hidden underground tunnels, remote caves and thriving yet isolated communities used by Freedom Seekers escaping enslavement.
Across the series, viewers will hear from the descendants of Freedom Seekers who add insight with their family history, passed down from generation to generation. Audiences also hear from archaeologists including Dr. Justin Dunnavant of UCLA, Dr. Ayana Omilade Flewellen of UC Riverside, Dr. Cheryl LaRoche of the University of Maryland, Dr. Dan Sayers of American University, Jeffrey Shanks of the National Park Service and Dr. Terrance Weik of University of South Carolina, as well as historians and academics including Anthony Cohen, President of the Menare Foundation, Lisa Fager of the Mt. Zion-FUBS Foundation, Dr. Maria Hammack of University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Cassandra Newby-Alexander of Norfolk State University, Dr. Rolonda Teal of Steven F. Austin State University and Dr. Javier Wallace of Duke University. These experts share their research and discoveries, giving valuable context to these stories and helping to solidify the legacies of those who sought freedom on the Underground Railroad.
In the series premiere, we travel south into Florida, Texas and Mexico. Archaeologists unravel the mystery of a free Black fort in Florida that was nearly erased from history by the U.S. military. After two centuries, little evidence of its existence can be seen at the site today. What can the latest technology reveal about the people who lived in this stronghold and its ultimate demise? And in Texas, oral tradition points to nature as an important resource, and now, thermal drones are uncovering Texas caves that provided shelter to those heading toward the treacherous Rio Grande on the way to Mexico.
UNDERGROUND RAILROAD: THE SECRET HISTORY brings new focus on courageous Freedom Seekers and their allies in this critical chapter of American history. These are the stories of those who risked their lives in the ultimate pursuit of freedom, and the ingenious methods used achieve liberty.
UNDERGROUND RAILROAD: THE SECRET HISTORY is produced by Attraction for Science Channel. For Attraction, Producer is Nicole Hamilton, Executive Producers are Joey Case and Richard Speer, and Series Producer is Margot Daley. For Science Channel, Executive Producers are Caroline Perez and Lindsey Foster Blumberg and Co-producer is Andrew Lessner.
About Science Channel
Science Channel, a multi-media business unit of Discovery, Inc. is the home of all things science around the clock, including series such as WHAT ON EARTH?, HOW THE UNIVERSE WORKS, UNEARTHED, and MYSTERIES OF THE ABANDONED. Science Channel’s programming also includes timely, expert-driven specials covering breaking science news and discoveries. Science Channel is the premiere TV, digital and social community for those with a passion for science, space, technology, archaeology, and engineering, providing immersive, engaging, high-quality entertainment across all Science Channel assets including: Science Channel television network, available in more than 63 million homes in the U.S; complimentary Video On Demand offering; SCI Go app allowing viewers to catch up on full episodes of their favorite shows anytime; deep video, interactive storytelling and virtual reality at www.sciencechannel.com; and conversations on Science Channel’s popular social platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat via @ScienceChannel.
About Discovery
Discovery, Inc. (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) is a global leader in real life entertainment, serving a passionate audience of superfans around the world with content that inspires, informs and entertains. Discovery delivers over 8,000 hours of original programming each year and has category leadership across deeply loved content genres around the world. Available in 220 countries and territories and nearly 50 languages, Discovery is a platform innovator, reaching viewers on all screens, including TV Everywhere products such as the GO portfolio of apps; direct-to-consumer streaming services such as Eurosport Player, Food Network Kitchen and MotorTrend OnDemand; digital-first and social content from Group Nine Media; a landmark natural history and factual content partnership with the BBC; and a strategic alliance with PGA TOUR to create the international home of golf. Discovery’s portfolio of premium brands includes Discovery Channel, HGTV, Food Network, TLC, Investigation Discovery, Travel Channel, MotorTrend, Animal Planet, Science Channel, and the forthcoming multi-platform JV with Chip and Joanna Gaines, Magnolia, as well as OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network in the U.S., Discovery Kids in Latin America, and Eurosport, the leading provider of locally relevant, premium sports and Home of the Olympic Games across Europe. For more information, please visit corporate.discovery.com and follow @DiscoveryIncTV across social platforms.
About discovery+
discovery+ is the definitive non-fiction, real life subscription streaming service. discovery+ has the largest-ever content offering of any new streaming service at launch, featuring a wide range of exclusive, original series across popular, passion verticals in which Discovery brands have a strong leadership position, including lifestyle and relationships; home and food; true crime; paranormal; adventure and natural history; as well as science, tech and the environment, and a slate of high-quality documentaries. For more, visit discoveryplus.com or find it on a variety of platforms and devices, including ones from Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Roku and Samsung.

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