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Hege Library & Learning Technologies

Underground Railroad in Guilford College Woods

Although the Underground Railroad network was secretive and no blueprint for it survives, it is generally agreed that a southern terminus was centered around the New Garden community in Guilford County, North Carolina.

Guilford College K-12 Underground Railroad Curriculum Site

In partnership with the Guilford County Schools and with financial support from the Tannenbaum-Sternberger Foundation, Guilford College launched a curriculum with lesson plans targeting 4th, 8th, and 11th grade students learning about the history of the Underground Railroad.

We invite you to view our curriculum resources.

Site Navigation

We are glad you have come to this website to learn more about the history of the Underground Railroad on Guilford's campus. We invite you to explore the many resources here--you can most easily do so by navigating the menu on the lefthand side of the page. There, you will find links to schedule a visit, to learn more about the curriculum resources, to read history and stories, and to find additional resources as well.

Welcome to the Guilford Woods

Known as the New Garden Woods in the 1800s, this is felt as a sacred place. Located within the historically Quaker New Garden/Guilford College community, it encompasses old growth forest and at least one champion tree standing as a silent witness to Underground Railroad activities.


  • 240-acre oasis of biodiversity
  • Land of Saura and Keyawee peoples, settled by European American Friends (Quakers) in the 1700s
  • Site of encampment of British and American troops in the Revolutionary War
  • Refuge for enslaved Africans seeking freedom via the Underground Railroad and Quaker men escaping Civil war Confederate draft in the 1800s
  • Site of former College farm
  • Educational and recreational resource

Trail to the champion tree is 0.3 mile one-way. It includes uneven surfaces with an accessible viewing platform and seating at the end.

Underground Railroad Tree

This old growth Tulip tree, dating back to before 1800, was present during the documented operation of the Underground Railroad in Guilford County (1819-1852). The tree stood as silent witness to the lives and actions of African Americans (enslaved and free) and their white allies (including many Quakers from New Garden).

We ask visitors and friends:

  • What can we learn from our shared histories and life stories?
  • How do we seek to create justice and places of refuge in our own community and in the world at large?

Upcoming Events

Rooted Wisdom Film Screening & Panel Discussion- Wednesday October 11th, 6:30-8pm, Bryan Jr Auditorium

Film Screening of the 26 minute, 2022 Documentary "Rooted Wisdom" followed by a panel discussion with filmmakers Lauren Giordano, and George Burroughs, and historian Anthony Cohen, facilitated by William R. Rogers Friends Center Director, Wess Daniels. "Travel through Adkins Arboretum with historian Anthony Cohen to understand how self-liberators used their knowledge of nature to forge a path to freedom. Their methods for navigating, concealing themselves, finding food, and evading capture reflect a deep connection to, and understanding of, the landscape. Filmed over the course of a year, this film explores Maryland’s Eastern Shore through the seasons and brings history alive in the landscape you see today."

We ask that guests please register here so we can anticipate attendance:


Rooted Wisdom: Evening Woods Walk with Anthony Cohen- Thursday, October 12th, 7-8:30pm, Meet by Guilford College Lake

Using the Guilford College woods as a backdrop, in this after dark tour, led by historian Anthony Cohen, guests will be invited to learn how self-liberators used their knowledge of nature to forge a path to freedom. Their methods for navigating, concealing themselves, finding food, and evading capture reflect a deep connection to, and understanding of, the landscape. We will walk through the Guilford College woods after sundown to learn more about how Freedom Seekers navigated this land at night, and what their journey on the Underground Railroad might have looked like. Registration is limited to 40 participants, and we invite participants to make a suggested donation.

All are welcome to sign up for this tour:


Harriet Tubman Performance with Diane Faison, Thursday September, 28th 1:30-3pm, Moon Room at Guilford College

"The Spirit Of Freedom is alive in Diane Faison who retells the Harriet Tubman story." Diane is a retired teacher, with a teaching career spanning over thirty years. She studied the life of Harriet Tubman and has written and will perform her one-woman play about the Underground Railroad leader. The performance will be held in the Moon Room at Guilford College at 1:30pm on Thursday September, 28th, and will be followed by a Q&A session. No registration required, all are welcome!