1,000 miles in their shoes: Ogden family biking the Underground Railroad

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OGDEN, Utah (ABC4) – After being stuck inside for a whole year, many families are looking for creative ways to get out and enjoy some time together. An Ogden family is taking that to the extreme by biking more than 1,000 miles to learn more about U.S. history and raise money for a scholarship at Weber State University.

“It’s just amazing how much history really has been preserved that’s just not shared at all,” Kathleen Cadman told ABC4.

Cadman, her husband Eddie Baxter, their son Zion Baxter, and Cadman’s parents, Bob and Dorris, spent three weeks learning more about the history of slavery in the United States by biking up the Underground Railroad.

“When they talk about slavery in textbooks or in classes, like when our son had American history, they talk about it almost as if it were a natural disaster, like people were escaping slavery,” Cadman stated.

The family’s history trip started in Alabama at the historical site of the Mobile Slave Market and ended at Harriet Tubman’s grave in New York. Cadman explained the trip was 2,000 miles. However, the family rode their bicycles for about 1,000 miles. Cadman’s mother, Dorris, followed in the family’s van and transported them during certain stretches of the trip.

Cadman told ABC4 the family’s trip along the Underground Railroad helped to humanize the stories of slavery all while emphasizing “how recent and how deep that hurt really is.”

From left to right: Eddie Baxter, Kathleen Cadman and Zion Baxter at the site of the Mobile, Alabama Slave Market. Photo courtesy: Kathleen Cadman

The Cadman-Baxter family shared their journey and what they’ve learned on social media on a daily basis. They did this to hlep others learn some of the unkown facts they were learning along the trail.

The family also used the trip to raise money for the Eddie L. Baxter Sankofa Scholars Award through Weber State University.

Baxter’s family history can be traced back to western Africa where the word “sankofa” comes from. The word basically means “to go back and get it.”

“That idea of going back to get it is specifically for single parents and those non-traditional students,” Cadman explained. “The people who didn’t just get to go straight through life all smooth, but the ones who are going back to college to reclaim. To go back and get it.”

Those who hear of the family’s trip and feel inspired to help others grow through education are asked to donate directly to the school. To donate to the Eddie L. Baxter Sankofa Scholars Award at Weber State University, click here.

Cadman teaches nursing and anti-racism courses at Weber State, Baxter is a therapist for a local school district, and their son is heading into high school. Cadman told ABC4 she hopes what they’ve learned along the Underground Railroad changes her family and helps them improve at work, in school, and in their daily interactions with others.

“When they talk about knowledge being a powerful thing, it changes the way you navigate the world and how you see the broader context of what you’re doing, and what life looks like,” she added.

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