Only one known possible photographic image of Parker exists today; thankfully we have his words in “His Promised Land”. The book’s narrative provides us with a first person account of his life, intellect, and is a fertile source for a gripping script. The autobiography includes recounted stories of dramatic nights in Ripley, during the height of Underground Railroad activity. Nights when Parker, stick in one hand a gun in the other, would walk down the center of the streets. Always fearful of slave catchers lurking in the alleys looking to snatch a runaway slave for the bounty, Parker would skillfully wait undetected by the riverfront searching for a signal or a boat launch from across the river.
Perhaps one of his most riveting rescues sent him across the Ohio into the bedroom of a Kentucky slave owner to rescue a slave couples child. The child was kept in the slave owner’s bedroom at night to ensure the parents would not try to escape. Parker’s daring effort not only freed the baby but the entire family. In the harrowing escape that followed Parker successfully brought the family across the Ohio River to Ripley. He hid them from the angry owners, then later sent them on their way north to freedom, across Lake Erie to Canada. “My calm defiance only irritated them more…they were threatening and furious, demanding their slave…So far as I ever knew he must have reached his promised land.”
“The Conductor” Project Mission:
The mission of this documentary film project is to tell John Parker’ story dramatically in his own words. This is a compelling story that reminds of what a true American hero really is. Help us to share John Parker’s story.
Take a look at this dramatic documentary film project overview. The film will present Parker’s life in his own words based on his autobiography “His Promised Land”.
“The Conductor”, a documentary film project
C/O The John P Parker Historical Society
P.O. Box 246
Ripley, Ohio 45167