"A Thousand Miles Away"By David LowensteinPhoto by Kyle Gerstner
The 20' x 20' mural highlights an important event in the life of Reverend Richard Cordley, a Congregational minister and Lawrence school board member, and a runaway slave, Lizzie. Internationally-known Lawrence mural artist, David Lowenstein has created a unique and special work of art that will be enjoyed by our community for years to come.
The mural was made possible by fundraising activities through the Cordley PTA and through grants from the Kansas Arts Commission and the Lawrence Arts Commission.
Additional funding or support was provided by:
Brownie Troop #609
Lawrence Public Schools
The Story Behind the Mural-
(From an exhibit at the Watkins Community Museum)
In the summer of 1859, the Reverend Richard Cordley, Congregational minister, and his wife were living in a rented house located about 2023 Vermont Street when a Mr. Monteith asked the Cordleys to hide a 22 year-old runaway slave woman named Lizzie. At great personal risk, the Cordleys hid her in their home until the autumn of 1859, when the Monteiths moved into town and Lizzie returned to them. Later in the autumn, Monteith and Lizzie again arrived at the Cordleys' door dressed as two gentlemen in fur coats. Lizzie was in imminent danger of capture, and Monteith asked if she could stay with the Cordleys until night, when someone would come for her. The Cordleys made elaborate arrangements to secrete Lizzie in case she was traced to their home. She was finally safely removed from their home by a conductor on the Underground Railroad. After being cared for elsewhere in Kansas for a few months, she eventually found safe haven in Canada.