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Visiting Galesburg, IL

Knox College located in Galesburg, Illinois was part of the Underground Railroad in IL

Growing up on the Mississippi River in East Moline, Illinois, in a time when civil rights were at its heights, Galesburg Illinois did not look like the headquarters of abolitionism in Illinois.  From my past perception of Galesburg, it was not a friendly place for people of color.

Recently, I traveled to Galesburg to learn more about Knox College and the city. The sunny but chilly day, during the Covid-19 pandemic, did not lead the way into the past. I thought there would be signs to meet me at the city limits, there were none.  We decided to walk the college campus. Discovering the fifth debate between Lincoln and Douglas took place on campus lead us to Lincoln’s quote.

Another interesting fact was that Hiram Revels, the first black U.S. Senator in American history, was a student at Knox College.

So, what changed? The answer is there, like so many other cities in America today that are similar to Galesburg.

As I write this article, I continually seek knowledge of African American history, specifically about the underground railroad. The England Manor, a safe house, that sits on the banks of Lake Michigan fits into the overall underground railroad network but how? The last shore before Canada or just a stop?