“I don’t bring shame or blame. I’m here to teach the history of my people.”
Historian Jerry Gore’s passing this week was unexpected. I met him last fall on one of his tours of Underground Railroad sites in Kentucky and Ohio. I came away from the day-long tour with a new understanding and awareness. His tours were amazing–he was amazing.
Gore, of Maysville, worked to uncover the history of the Underground Railroad in the area around Maysville and helped found the town’s National Underground Railroad Museum.
He co-founded Freedom Time, a company that organizes Underground Railroad site tours and events.
And he consulted on a number of projects regarding the history of the Underground Railroad.
Gore, a descendant of escaped slaves, credited his mother, Hattie Dunlap, with giving him a passion for preserving his heritage.
When he was 7 years old, he said she took him across the Ohio River to a house that had once belonged to the Rev. John Rankin, an abolitionist who has been credited with helping hundreds of slaves escape. She told him stories of the Underground Railroad and the slaves who followed it to freedom.
“One of the things my mother realized was we live in an unfair world, and she knew the effect racism and segregation could have on children,” Gore said in a 1995 Herald-Leader article. “But she also knew she could keep us motivated with positive images of the beauty of our history.”
Kentucky Underground Railroad historian Jerry Gore dies Lexington Herald-Leader (August 6, 2016)
As word spread this week of Mr. Gore’s passing, other tributes poured in:
Words For Jerry Gore Don’t Seem To Be Enough Maysville Ledger-Independent (August 5, 2016)
A legacy to remember Maysville Ledger-Independent (August 5, 2016)
Jerry Gore funeral Monday in Maysville The Morehead News (August 5, 2016)
Retired administrator Jerry Gore passes away Morehead State University (August 5, 2016)
Local historian Jerry Gore dies unexpectedly Maysville Ledger-Independent (August 4, 2016)
Obituary – Mr. Gore Maysville Ledger-Independent (August 4, 2016)
You can read more about Jerry Gore, Freedom Time Heritage Tours, and the Underground Railroad in these Kentucky Day Trip posts: