Research

Reading in the library

Early African American Families In Southwest Michigan

Slave masters who were fathers of enslaved children sometimes felt responsible for their mulatto offspring. Many freed them and purchased land for them in a free state. A highly populated valley, bordering the Greenville Creek, which extended from Southwest Ohio to Southeast and portions of Central Indiana saw an influx of African Americans prior to the Civil War (1840s to 1860s). However many found living conditions unbearable because of racial hostility and over crowdedness and they instead followed their former Quaker neighbors to portions of Southwest Michigan.

Learn about these families by viewing the presentations below. SHARE is committed to preserving the history of these pioneering people and will be adding more stories here as they are produced.

Click on the picture to read about the Staffords.

Click on the picture to read about the Hackleys.

Fugitive Slaves Who Settled In Southwest Michigan

As many important lines of The Underground Railroad came through southwest Michigan on their way to Canada, many fugitives and freed slaves stayed in the area and started their new lives.

Learn about these people and important events by viewing the presentations below. SHARE is committed to preserving the history of these pioneering people and will be adding more stories here as they are produced.

Click on the picture to read about Dorothy Butler.

 

Click on the picture to read about the Kentucky Raid.