Explore Michigan's Underground Railroad History


Underground Railroad monument in Battle Creek. Photo courtesy of MDNR.


The Michigan Freedom Trail Commission's fourth annual Underground Railroad Heritage Gathering kicks off with weekly virtual presentations in September and culminates with a day-long event at the University of Michigan Oct. 2.

September virtual programs

To commemorate International Underground Railroad Month, four Thursday evening programs will explore the rescues of four enslaved people in Michigan in 1847. The programs, which run 7-8:30 p.m., are free and will take place via Zoom. Preregistration is required, and each presentation has its own registration link.

Sept. 9 – Introduction and Background to 1847 Michigan Slave Rescues

Sept. 16 – The Crosswhite and Robert Cromwell Cases

Sept. 23 – Kentucky Raid and John Felix White

Sept. 30 – The Impact of the 1847 Michigan Slave Rescues and the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850

Annual Heritage Gathering

The annual daylong conference will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2 at the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor.

Like in previous years, the day is aimed at networking, information sharing and developing next steps in a statewide Underground Railroad collaborative. Join us and become part of the conversation! Registration for the day is $12 and includes a boxed lunch.

Register for the Heritage Gathering at eventbrite.com

Organizers are monitoring current developments with the COVID-19 pandemic and are investigating options to make virtual sessions possible in addition to, or in place of, an in-person event. More information will be available soon.

For more information about the Michigan Freedom Trail Commission and the fourth annual heritage gathering, visit Michigan.gov/FreedomTrail.

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