Based on the interest in our previous webinar about authentic storytelling along the Underground Railroad, Preservation Maryland worked with our partners to host a free webinar specifically about Underground Railroad research in Maryland and taking the needed steps to submit an application to the National Park Service’s Network to Freedom program.



Diane Miller has served as the national program manager for the National Park Service, National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom since 1999. Diane began her career at the NPS in 1984 working in the National Register of Historic Places programs. She received her MA in History from the University of Maryland and BAs in History and Anthropology from Ohio University. In December 2019 she received her Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Her dissertation is “Wyandot, Shawnee, and African American Resistance to Slavery in Ohio and Kansas.”


Director of Research for the Study of the Legacy of Slavery in Maryland at the Maryland State Archives, Director of the Utopia Film Festival in Prince George’s County, and current Annapolis Film Festival Advisory Board Member. Additionally, he has served on the following boards: Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Foundation, Historic London Town Foundation, Jake Savage Foundation, and the Annapolis Arts Alliance Foundation. His script for the 2004 The RECONCILIATION WALK for SLAVERY and PENITENCE held in Annapolis on September 29 helped garner the Maryland Tourism Council Global Marketing Award for the Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Foundation. He has spoken on genealogy, African American history, and self-empowerment on many occasions including the 2002 African American Genealogical Conference in Los Angeles, California, the 2000 Millennium of Ethiopia Celebration in Washington, DC, the 2008 and 2007 Federation of Genealogical Societies Conventions,  the 2013 Texas Library Association, the 2014 Afro American Historical & Genealogical Society in Nashville, Tennessee, 2014 Presidents’ Day Address in the Maryland Old House of Delegates Chamber and at the 2016 International Roots Festival in The Gambia. The story of his DNA test that resulted in his discovery and reunion with relatives from the British Isles in 2009 was covered by innumerable news outlets including USA Today and the Huffington Post.

As an actor, performer, writer, and director, he is co-director of the documentary, Unmarked, currently airing on PBS.ORG under the REEL SOUTH series, and accepted into, among others, the New Orleans and Savannah Film Festivals, on the state of often unknown burial sites of free and enslaved African Americans. He has appeared on HBO’s, The Wire, TV ONE’s, For My Man, ID Network’s, Relatively Evil, the PBS Special, Partners of The Heart, and in productions of Aint Misbehavin’, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, Six Degrees of Separation and Godspell. As a writer, he has had his poetry published in Washington DC’s, Hill Rag, and his script for The Studio garnered him a 2001 Individual Artist’s Award from the Anne Arundel County Arts Council.


Maya Davis is Legislative Liaison and Research Archivist at the Maryland State Archive where she consults on statewide projects that document, interpret, and preserve African American History and Culture. Maya currently serves as a member of the Maryland Lynching Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture. Previously she served as the Interim Director of the Banneker-Douglass Museum and the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture, staff at the City Museum of Washington, DC, Vice Chair of the Annapolis 1864 Commission to Commemorate the Emancipation of Slavery in Maryland and exhibition team member of the Harriet Tubman Park and Visitor Center and the Tubman and Douglass Statue installation project at the Maryland State House.

Ka’mal McClarin

Ka’mal McClarin, Ph.D., is the Region 1 Program Manager for National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. He works with National Park Service Non-NPS applicants from Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, and West Virginia, Washington D.C. and the surrounding metropolitan area. As a historian and curator, McClarin has spent the better part of his career developing programs, preserving park collections, and, most importantly, promoting the stories of slavery, resistance, emancipation, and civil rights for National Capital Parks-East historic sites in Region 1. His career interest is effective program management, diversity, and relevancy for sites that promote America’s cultural heritage. McClarin’s rewarding NPS career has also provided him with the opportunity to develop a keen understanding of stewardship, partnerships, and education of NPS’s cultural and natural resources.

Heather Ersts

Heather is the Partnership and Outreach Manager for the Maryland Office of Tourism Development. She joined the Maryland Tourism team in February 2014 as part of the Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission. Before joining OTD, Heather worked as a museum curator, designer, and educator creating a variety of visitor experiences at museums and historic sites, including Annapolis Maritime Museum, Historic Annapolis, Maryland Historical Society, and George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Heather holds a BA in History from University of Maryland, College Park, a BA in History from George Mason University, and a MA in the History of American Decorative Arts from Parson School of Design/Smithsonian Associates.