Freedom’s Frontier was established on the basis of difficult stories. Our main story is one of how this area devolved from a clash of ideas into fierce guerrilla warefare carried out on a civilian population. While these stories are difficult and often incomprehensible to our 21st century sensibilities, seen a different way they are also stories of the human spirit and survival against the odds.
Working with partners over the past nine years, Freedom’s Frontier has helped to establish a dialog about these stories. Rather than viewing our difficult history as “us” versus “them,” we’ve worked to establish a clearer picture of who, exactly, “us” and “them” were and which voices were left out of that simple narrative. We have a better grasp on the historical context of the issue of slavery and its expansion, its impact on people living in and moving into the area, and how some used a political issue to advance personal agendas.
As we work to avoid repeating a narrative that simplifies the issues, we search for new ways to understand and present our stories to the public. Whether it’s an audio exhibit of the Pottawatomie Massacre based on first-hand accounts, quiet reflection at the site of the Marais des Cygnes massacre, a tour of extant slave cabins given by the slave owner’s descendant, including a discussion of Order Number 11 on a tour of Quantrill’s Raid, or presenting a reading of a “Shared Stories of the Civil War” script, Freedom’s Frontier and our partners strive to tell our nation’s most difficult stories.