Media Notes & Updates
July 13, 2022 Walk to Freedom – New York to Canada will begin on Thursday July 14, from the Harriet Tubman Memorial Statue, St. Nicholas Avenue and, Frederick Douglass Blvd, in Harlem. Details on the exact start time are still coming together, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Walking Artist Plans
450-Mile Walk to Freedom
Following New York State’s Underground Railroad
Harlem, NY – Ken Johnston, a Philadelphia-based walking artist, who responds to the call of social change and history by walking to put Movement back in the Civil Rights Movement, is tracing the footsteps of Freedom Seekers like Harriet Tubman this summer by walking from New York City to Canada visiting known Underground Railroad communities.
On Thursday July 14, Johnston plans to begin a new “Walk to Freedom” journey from Harlem to St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, following the Underground Railroad up the Hudson River Valley to Albany and across central parts of New York.
The Underground Railroad network across New York during the 19th century can be traced to pockets of communities with free African Americans that were situated near other communities of Abolitionists, Quakers and Methodists – all working with the purpose to bring down the formidable enemy of slavocracy with an unwavering commitment to freedom.
Not new to long distance walking, in 2018, Johnston successfully completed a 400-mile solo walking journey across the Deep South from Selma, Alabama to Memphis, Tennessee to commemorate MLK50th visiting the many places Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. either worked, pastored, or led peaceful protests.
Internationally, Johnston has walked across Puerto Rico on the second anniversary of Hurricane Maria following the trajectory of the storm’s devastating path, and the North of Ireland symbolically linking its short lived Civil Rights movement with the U.S.
The walk will remember and celebrate Harriet Tubman’s life and journey to freedom on the 200th anniversary year of her birthday.
Upon reaching Alison Saar’s Swing Low Harriet Tubman Memorial statue in Harlem, the first public monument to an African American woman in New York City, Johnston plans to resume the walk he completed last year at the statue. From Harlem, he plans to walk to the historic Lincoln Ave. Corridor in New Rochelle.
7/14 Harlem – New Rochelle 12 mi
7/15-16 New Rochelle/Scarsdale/Bedford, 24 mi
7/17 Bedford/Katonah, John Jay Homestead Farm, 4 mi
7/17 John Jay Homestead/Katonah Museum of Art, 2 mi
7/17 Katonah Museum/ Katonah Center, 1 mi
7/18-7/20 Katonah/Poughkeepsie, 45 mi
7/21-7/23 Poughkeepsie/Hudson, 42 mi
7/24-25 Hudson/Albany, 31 mi
Johnston is seeking to share his story about walking the Underground Railroad with interested groups along the way. Additionally, he is seeking donations to help defray the costs of the walk. Donations may be made on his website at www.ourwalktofreedom.com through GoFundMe.
Community connections are also wanted to help with overnight lodging and meals along the way. If people would like to join Ken on the walk, they are welcomed to jump right in for one mile, one block, or any distance they feel comfortable.
Ken Johnston is a recipient of the 2021 Mural Arts Philadelphia Fellowship for Black Artists and the 2018 Amherst Irish Association’s Margaret Maher Award.
Southern New Jersey Underground Railroad
On Saturday April 2, Deborah Price and I began a 165-mile Walk to Freedom journey retracing the Underground Railroad across South New Jersey from Cape May to Burlington City. The goal of the walk is to resurrect the voices and memory of the people who history has forgotten, while simultaneously recognizing the families that were separated and reunited again by their love for each other and their quest for freedom.
For more information, please refer to our press release.
The public is invited to join us at any point in the walk. Updates on the starting and end point of each week’s walk will be posted on the itinerary on the blog page.
Starting in Cape May, Saturday April 2, 2022
The first day of the walk will be a night walk simulating how many Freedom Seekers travelled to avoid from being spotted by kidnappers who would attempt to return to them to slavery. The walk will begin at Second and Beach Ave, in Cape May, about 4:30 p.m., and continue to the Harriet Tubman Museum on Lafayette St. before turning north toward Cold Spring, Whitesboro and continuing up Route 9 ending at the Cape May Court House.
Day two of the walk, Sunday April 3, will begin at 8:00 a.m. at the Cape May Court House and follow Route 47 to the Delmont Post Office, about 15-miles.
March 31, 2021 The Perth Amboy River Crossing on Saturday April 3, remains unconfirmed. A previous commitment appears to have fallen through. If we are unable to secure a boat ride across the Arthur Kill River we will drive to Tottenville and resume our walk to the Light House Museum on the North Shore.
August 30, 2019 Update: Sin Cita/Without Appointment begins Saturday September 7, in Quebradillas, to coincide with the 2017 passing of Hurricane Irma. The caminata across Puerto Rico will conclude on September 20 to mark the 2nd Anniversary of Hurricane Maria’s devastating landfall on the archipelago. The walk will terminate in Yabucoa.
April 8, 2019 Update: I plan to begin my peace walk on Wednesday April 10 at 9:00 a.m. from Belfast City Hall. My outward march will follow the following streets:
Donegal Pl., Royal Ave., Clifton St., Crumlin Road, A55, Lionel Road, Ballyhill Road, Lylehill Road, Ballyutoag Road (A52), to B39 and onwards to Antrim. This is an approximate route the 1969 People’s Democracy marchers may have followed out of Belfast. I will make adjustments as I go along to stay true to the original route as much as possible.
Walk Across Puerto Rico_Sin Cita
Retracing Harriet Tubman’s Steps to Freedom Across Delaware, Delaware Today, 5/20/2021
The Lantern, Newsletter, Kennett Square Underground Railroad, 3/2020
Underground Railroad hiker welcomed in Kennett, Chester County Press, 2/18/2020
American pair retracing original civil rights march, Derry Journal, 4/16/2019
Walking the “Belfast to Derry” and “Selma to Montgomery” trail in the name of civil rights, IrishCentral.com, 4/5/19
Radio Interview: May The Road Rise Up To Meet You, WRSI-FM, 4/5/19
Amherst man to take 3-day walk to fight hunger, Daily Hampshire Gazette, 6/14/18
Massachusetts man passes through county during Selma to Memphis walk, 280 Reporter, 3/7/2018
Johnston spreads awareness for civil rights one step at a time, Selma Times Journal, 2/28/2018
Johnston embarks on 400 mile walk to honor Dr. King, Selma Times Journal, 2/24/2018
Amherst man to walk from Selma to Memphis for civil rights, Daily Hampshire Gazette, 2/21/2018
Amherst man hopes to hear ‘spirit of ancestors’ on 400 mile Selma to Memphis walk, Springfield Republican, 2/11/2018
Amherst Man Pieces Together A Walk To Remember, Cape Cod Times, 9/25/2017
Amherst Man Walks the Breadth of Massachusetts, Daily Hampshire Gazette, 9/25/2017
MassWalk 2017, Blog, Summer 2017