The “underground railroad” included many stops in Michigan for African Americans seeking their freedom from slavery between the years of 1810 and 1850. During Black History month, we recognize the bravery of everyone involved in the organized system that moved about 100,000 slaves north.
The Underground Railroad wasn’t really a railroad and it wasn’t underground. It was a network termed to coincide with the emerging steam railroads of that time. The conductors led the escapees at night through forests, rivers and in wagons. The stations were the churches, house attics and basement cellars that safely sheltered them during the day.
In Michigan, families living in Adrian, Albion, Marshall, Saline, Ann Arbor, Detroit, and cities north of Detroit participated in the Underground Railroad. The Second Baptist Church in Detroit served as a safe house, and a marker at the Northeast corner of State and Griswold Streets reminds us where the barn of Seymour Finney once hid freedom seekers headed to Canada.
In 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation ended slavery throughout the United States.
Content provided by Oakland University