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2012 Carter G. Woodson Memorial Award

Jerry Gore
Non-Member, Kentucky


Presented jointly by NEA and the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) for leadership and creativity in promoting Black History Month, for furthering the understanding of black Americans' heritage, and for making significant positive changes in a local community.


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Jerry GorePoet Rita Dove once wrote:

What's invisible sings, and we bear witness.

Jerry Gore helps us hear the voices of slaves who risked everything to achieve their freedom, and he helps us bear witness to those who helped the slaves on the Underground Railroad. Retired from Morehead State University where he taught Black History, Jerry Gore established an Underground Railroad Museum in Maysville, Kentucky, called Freedom Time. Mr. Gore has unearthed much of the Underground Railroad history of Maysville, Kentucky to Ripley, Ohio, across the Ohio River. He created Pictorial History of Maysville, Kentucky, Washington County and Ripley, Ohio. And he has brought all that he has learned to life by creating a Freedom Time Tour. As the Tour's informational flier states, it allows you to "retrace the path to freedom for human justice and dignity and explore the secret hiding places and trails used by enslaved Africans and conductors of the Underground Railroad." The Freedom Tour has had a major impact on students who have only read about the Underground Railroad. One Kentucky Education Association Diversity Committee Member reports that "Mr. Gore’s tour was life changing."

Mr. Gore has mentored many students from Morehouse State University. "Education is key to a better life and a better world if people are soundly educated in the fact," says Mr. Gore. "We try with all our heart and soul to have a clear understanding of history and relationships in history, including life and social issues."

Moreover, Jerry Gore is more than a local historian. He has designed a Multicultural Curriculum that is aligned with the Kentucky Program of Review Standards. He is a consultant on the history of the Underground Railroad to the U.S. National Park Service. And he coordinated the Bi-National Underground Railroad Field Study for Parks Canada and the U.S. National Parks Service. He served on the International Underground Railroad Association Advisory Board and on the Board of Directors of Pathways, Inc., a not-for-profit human services organization.

In West Africa, the storyteller, or "griot," is a revered figure who links the past with the present, enriching people’s everyday lives. Jerry Gore is an African American griot.