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National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

Mar 14, 2018
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Dion Brown wasted no time starting his new position as president here at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (NURFC) on Monday, February 26. He was already aware we’d have a lot of time getting to know one another as we in the marketing department were planning his media tour about a month before his arrival.

Right before his first interview as a Freedom Center representative with one of the local magazines, he mentioned to me that he had completed his last day at the National Blues Museum in St. Louis (which he helped start), just the Friday before and got on plane to come here to the Queen City on the following Sunday. I was amazed how eager he was to speak with each journalist after all the traveling he did in such a short amount of time. He showed no signs of being tired or overwhelmed.

“I want to let everyone know, I am here to stay,” he mentions in every interview. Brown wants to bring a sense of stability to the institution and emphasizes that he wants to learn from each of us on staff. “I’m not going anywhere until they run me off,” he jokes. Even after the interview, he says “I’m serious Will. I’m really an advocate on what this place is about.”

I’m learning just how humble Brown is as he’s asked around on what churches to visit, to where some of the best restaurants to eat are, to even referring to me as “sir” while having twenty years seniority on me. As he begins going around each day to observe the museum’s exhibits in his few moments of down time, he often stops at the windows of the third floor terrace where our eternal flame is located. “Seeing the eternal flame outside moved me. It made me reflect”, he says also adding it was one of the contributing factors of him taking the job offer.

Strategic planning for the museum’s upcoming years is top priority for Brown. He told me that one of things he wants to do is have the museum be more inviting to local residents. “Although this is a nationally accredited institution, this is also Cincinnati’s museum. It’s in your backyard and people need to take advantage of it”, he states.

We are looking forward to working with our new president as we continue to push our mission in the ongoing fight for freedom. Just as much as we’re excited to have Brown on board, we hope the city will also embrace him with open arms. We encourage you to visit to stay updated on what’s happening with him as well as upcoming programs and exhibits. Let’s all welcome Dion Brown, to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and especially Cincinnati.

- Will Jones 
Public Relations & Social Media Coordinator
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center 

About the Museum
The museum is located just a few steps from the banks of the Ohio River, the great natural barrier that separated the slave states of the South from the free states of the North. Since opening in 2004, the museum has filled a substantial void in our nation’s cultural heritage. Rooted in the stories of the Underground Railroad, it illuminates the true meaning of inclusive freedom by presenting permanent and special exhibits that inspire, public programming that provokes dialogue and action, and educational resources that equip modern abolitionists.

The NURFC has a mission to reveal stories of freedom’s heroes, from the era of the Underground Railroad to contemporary times, challenging and inspiring everyone to take courageous steps of freedom today. 


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