Author, Historian, Speaker/Lecturer: The Underground Railroad
Henry Robert Burke has been appointed by the Ohio Bicentennial Commission to serve on the Advisory Committee of the Underground Railroad and American Civil War. The Ohio Bicentennial Commission was authorized by the General Assembly and Governor George V. Voinovich to oversee the Bicentennial celebration in the year 2003. It's mission is to involve all Ohioans and provide an enhanced understanding and appreciation of their state's heritage and the accomplishments of its citizens.
Henry Robert Burke is retired and resides in Marietta, Ohio where he has lived for 59 years. His past occupations include: Environmental Engineering Technician, Strip Mine Foreman, and Heavy Equipment Operator. He worked as a mining supervisor along the Ohio River from Mingo Junction in northern Ohio to Proctorville in southern Ohio. Henry was the first certified African American Strip Mine Forman in Ohio. He has spent most of his life learning about and researching the history of the Underground Railroad. A local historian and accomplished writer Mr. Burke has published 3 books to date. "The Escape of Jane", a true story of the Underground Railroad and a woman's escape to freedom with her seven children, crossing the Ohio River near Marietta; "Along The Underground Railroad" a collection of stories about the abolitionist movement and the local history of the Underground Railroad; and his newest book, "Mason-Dixon Line, The Underground Railroad Along the Ohio River" is a comprehensive account of the history of the Underground Railroad.
Mr. Burke's gentle and modest nature immediately delights his audience as he shares the vast amount of information gathered from his documented research. Many years spent in libraries and interviewing descendants of African American slaves, including his own ancestors, have resulted in establishing information that educates, interprets, and preserves the history of the Underground Railroad. From the beginning of the Northwest Territory in 1787 to the end of slavery in 1865, Mr. Burke weaves the tapestry of "The Freedom Trail", the greatest human rights story in America.
A natural storyteller, Henry Burke's style is captivating and entertaining. Moving his audience through emotions of sadness and great joy he guides his listeners through compelling experiences that inspires a new understanding of courageous people, both black and white, who risked their lives for the right of all people to be free.
We congratulate Mr. Burke on his appointment and know that he will work to the best of his ability to promote history especially as it pertains to southeastern Ohio.