There it was. The glorious historical monument that we encountered during our travels.

The John A. Roebling Bridge is a massive steel edifice that stretches out from Covington, Kentucky to Cincinnati, Ohio directly over the Ohio River. Travelers to and from the South have used the Roebling Bridge since 1867 as a safe means of crossing the Ohio River. Before the bridge, riverboats were the primary mode of transportation. Or wading in the water. Swimming across in the dead of night and in the winter, if cold enough, walking on a frozen bed of ice. Yes. The enslaved stealthily crossed the Ohio River from Kentucky to freedom. Or the pathway to freedom. The 1850 Fugitive Slave Act was created as a Band-Aid in answer to the struggles in Washington between a growingly divided Congress in the matter of the legalities of slavery. To be more precise, Northern states wanted to abolish slavery and Southern states did not. The South believed that Northern states willfully poached the runaway enslaved for their own political reasons. To bring some resolve to the conflict, the Fugitive Slave Act was voted into law. Once the enslaved crossed the Ohio River into one of the many free African American communities that doted the shoreline of Cincinnati, they had a decision to make: remain in Ohio or take the Underground Railroad further north to the last stop in Detroit at Second Baptist Church. The last stop before crossing the Detroit River to Canada. As we creeped along on the Roebling Bridge due to heavy traffic, I took a quick moment to pray for the enslaved who were not so fortunate to make it across the Ohio River or remain free. One name comes to mind: Margaret Garner who was also known by her enslaved name, Peggy. Margaret and her family made it across the Ohio River into Cincinnati only to be captured days later by U.S. Marshalls in 1856. You might have heard of Margaret Garner, too, because of what happens next: Not wanting herself or her children to return to being enslaved, Margaret tried to commit murder-suicide. Before Margaret could commit the act that would end her life, U.S. Marshalls intervened. All of Garner’s children survived except one, Mary, who was two years old. Garner, her husband Robert, and their children were returned to captivity and enslavement in the South. The late great Toni Morrison was inspired by Margaret Garner when she penned the epic novel Beloved. And just below the surface of the Roebling Bridge is an 18-image mural that immortalizes the Garner family crossing the Ohio River into Cincinnati.