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Dr. David Childs

Oct. 11, 2023 - A research study conducted by Dr. David Childs, director of the Black History Program at NKU, as well as additional professors and graduate students, has been accepted to be presented at a conference at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 18. 

The paper, titled “Jordan River I’m Bound to Cross: Researching Slavery and Religion in Northern Kentucky and Ohio” explores the significant role the Ohio River played in enslavement as the last hurdle to freedom for slaves. It was the final stop for Underground Railroad. 

“The research that we will be presenting in Washington D.C. is significant because it helps advance U.S. History and social studies education in general,” Dr. Childs said. “African American history is American history. With our research, we hope to broaden the historical narrative and offer a more robust understanding of history.” 

The paper also showcases incredible research done by the Black Studies program and the Master of Public History program in learning about and exploring historical sites tied to freedom and religion, including research conducted at an historically black church, an all-African American school, and several Underground Railroad sites throughout the region. 

Dr. Childs and several students will travel to Washington D.C. to present their findings to the Afterlives of Slavery Conference, hosted by Princeton Theological Seminary, Howard University Divinity School, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the University of Liberia. The conference will feature presentations at Howard University and the Smithsonian Institute.

About Northern Kentucky University: NKU is an entrepreneurial state university of more than 15,000 students on a thriving suburban campus nestled between Highland Heights, Kentucky and bustling downtown Cincinnati. Ranked in the top 50 out of 400 universities nationwide by The Wall Street Journal for exceptional value, we are a regionally engaged university committed to delivering an innovative, student-centered education. We empower our graduates to have fulfilling careers and meaningful lives, while contributing to the economic, civic and social vitality of the region. Learn more at