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Relic a Reminder of Slavery's Horrors

When farmer Ray Evers read about the new Underground Railroad Freedom Center opening in Cincinnati, he called the curators to say he had something they might want. Inside a barn on his Mason County, Ky., farm was a storage shed that once had been a slave pen.

The wooden structure, with barred windows and shackle rings, turned out to be one of the few such structures still intact in the United States. But thousands of slave pens once dotted the Southern countryside. They were used in the early 1800s as holding cells, in preparation for slave auctions.

The center and its slave pen exhibit open to the public Monday. As Harriet Baskas reports for the Hidden Treasures Radio Project, the exhibit may upset some, but curators believe it's a part of American history that shouldn't be hidden.

This story is part of the Hidden Treasures Radio Project, funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Cultural Development Authority of King County, Wash.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.