February 04, 2009

The African American History of my Hometown!

It's black history month,welcome. I remember when I was young, in elementary school we had black history week each year in February. We took the opportunity to learn about slavery, emancipation, civil rights and what not. It was pretty cool.
One of my favorite parts of growing up in Michigan was knowing the important roll my state played in the Underground Railroad. Also learning the important roll my home town Battle Creek, played also gave me some sense of pride.
Some history:
This memorial statue is in west Battle Creek:


There were 7 different ways to run the slaves through Michigan and up to Canada through the Underground Railroad:

They could come up from Toledo, Ohio and into Detroit and across the Detroit river.

The second route was from Toledo to Adrian to Morenci to Tecumseh to Clinton to Saline to Ypsilanti to Plymouth to Swartzburg to the River Rouge to Detroit.

Another Underground Railroad route ran along Old Sauk Road from Indiana; Niles to White Pigeon to Sturgis to Coldwater to Quincy to Jonesville to Somerset to Clinton to Saline to Ypsilanti to Plymouth to Swartzburg to the River Rouge to Detroit.

The fourth route took escapees on the Old Territorial Road from Indiana and Illinois; Niles to Cassopolis to Schoolcraft to Climax to Kalamazoo to Battle Creek to Marshall to Albion to Parma to the Michigan Center to Jackson to Dexter to Leoni to Grass Lake to Ann Arbor to Giddes to Ypsilanti to Plymouth to Swartzburg to the River Rouge to Detroit.

The fifth was the Grand River Trail from Indiana and Illinois; St. Joseph-Benton Harbor to South Haven to Holland to Grand Rapids to Lowell to Portland to Lansing to Williamston to Howell to Brighton to Farmington to Detroit.

Route six was from Detroit, Lansing, Saginaw, or Flint to Port Huron.

Route seven was from Chicago to Duluth to Mackinaw City, continuing on to Detroit or Port Huron via Saginaw, or to Canada through Sault Ste. Marie.

It is believed that Michigan had more than 200 "depots" on the Underground Railroad. A depot was a planned stop and included churches, homes, or any safe place to hide.

The second route was from Toledo to Adrian to Morenci to Tecumseh to Clinton to Saline to Ypsilanti to Plymouth to Swartzburg to the River Rouge to Detroit.

Another Underground Railroad route ran along Old Sauk Road from Indiana; Niles to White Pigeon to Sturgis to Coldwater to Quincy to Jonesville to Somerset to Clinton to Saline to Ypsilanti to Plymouth to Swartzburg to the River Rouge to Detroit.

The fourth route took escapees on the Old Territorial Road from Indiana and Illinois; Niles to Cassopolis to Schoolcraft to Climax to Kalamazoo to Battle Creek to Marshall to Albion to Parma to the Michigan Center to Jackson to Dexter to Leoni to Grass Lake to Ann Arbor to Giddes to Ypsilanti to Plymouth to Swartzburg to the River Rouge to Detroit.

The fifth was the Grand River Trail from Indiana and Illinois; St. Joseph-Benton Harbor to South Haven to Holland to Grand Rapids to Lowell to Portland to Lansing to Williamston to Howell to Brighton to Farmington to Detroit.

Route six was from Detroit, Lansing, Saginaw, or Flint to Port Huron.

Route seven was from Chicago to Duluth to Mackinaw City, continuing on to Detroit or Port Huron via Saginaw, or to Canada through Sault Ste. Marie.

It is believed that Michigan had more than 200 "depots" on the Underground Railroad. A depot was a planned stop and included churches, homes, or any safe place to hide.



http://www.albion.edu/library/JAT/MIUGR.htm This link takes you to an interactive map where you can see certain historical landmarks along the way.


One of the coolest things was being able to visit the Gravesite of Sojourner Truth in the Oak Hill Cemetery. I was honored to visit her resting place last summer (2008)





I'm rather proud of the place I grew up and its place in Black History. It's streets didn't hold marches. There were probably no bus protests. I'm pretty sure no one got hosed down in the streets for picketing. But it's streets are full of the souls and spirits of Men, women and children who hid in the cellars, basements, attics, barns, closets on their way to Freedom.


And that, folks, is a little bit of the Black History of my home town.

3 comments:

Sherpa said...

Very, very cool stuff.

When we went to Detroit, we ended up at the river looking south over into Canada at the statue there commemorating the end of the Underground Railroad.

Black History Month has always been a fave of mine.

Kristin said...

I love how you know all of this. I just got Baylie a really tender book called Henry's Freedom Box about a man who mailed himself to freedom. I also got her one called Goin' Someplace Special which talks about segregation. These are both true stories. I wish I knew more, but I'm learning!

Anonymous said...

Your blog is outstanding!

Here is the url of the blog from
the Archives of the Sandusky Library, if you would like to take a look:

http://sanduskyhistory.blogspot.com