Annual Lansing Heritage Gathering touches on the Underground Railroad in Michigan

Published: Sep. 30, 2023 at 11:55 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - The Michigan Freedom Trail Commission hosted the annual Heritage Gathering for 2023 at the Michigan History Center in downtown Lansing.

The theme for the gathering was “Representations of the Underground Railroad.”

Organizers said the event was an enlightening exploration of Michigan’s Underground Railroad history and its representation in various forms of media and culture.

This conference aimed to shed light on how the Underground Railroad had been portrayed in fiction, film, and plays, as well as in games, myths, and even popular culture.

“Throughout the period of slavery in this country, freedom seekers were escaping from slavery in the South and finding their way to various ports in the North and even into Canada,” said Jason Young, associate professor of history at the University of Michigan. “Michigan played an incredibly important role in ushering in and protecting freedom seekers and also in moving them from areas of the South into Canada and into northern Michigan as well.”

Meanwhile, author Kai Thomas talked about his novel, “In the Upper Country,” which followed the journey of a freedom seeker on the Underground Railroad to Michigan.

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