The Stationmaster: Thomas P. Bulla, Notre Dame, and the Underground Railroad

Presented by Sean O'Brien

This seminar explores the local history of the Underground Railroad -- the loose network of people and places that aided enslaved people in their perilous journeys to freedom. Civil Rights leader Ambassador Andrew Young describes the Underground Railroad as “the first civil rights movement in the United States because it blurred racial, gender, religious and socio-economic lines and united people in the common cause of ending the injustice of slavery." Course participants will scrutinize and weigh historical source material which may provide evidence of an Underground Railroad station on what is now the Notre Dame campus. Visits to relevant sites on campus will enliven our research about this historical movement and our discussion about its meaning today.  

About Sean O'Brien:

Sean O'Brien is director of the LL.M. Program in International Human Rights Law and Concurrent Assistant Professor of Law at Notre Dame Law School. For the past fifteen years, his work has focused on human rights advocacy and the education of human rights lawyers around the world. O'Brien holds three degrees from the University of Notre Dame, most recently graduating summa cum laude from the LL.M. Program in International Human Rights Law in 2002. His experience includes work with the Belfast law firm of Madden & Finucane before the Bloody Sunday Inquiry in Derry, Northern Ireland, and litigation with the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) in the Inter-American System for the Protection of Human Rights. Immediately prior to his return to Notre Dame, he served as Chief Counsel for Immigration and Human Rights at the Center for Multicultural Human Services (CMHS) in Falls Church, Virginia, directing a legal services program for survivors of torture and war trauma.