Celebrated every February, Black History Month recognizes the accomplishments and triumphs of African Americans throughout history. Each year, the month-long celebration is given a theme. This year’s is African Americans in Time of War, which couldn’t be more fitting for Jackson. Nearly every corner of the county contains a piece of history that can be connected back to this theme, especially when it comes to the Civil War Era. Learn about Jackson’s involvement during this trying time by visiting places that hold relics of our past.
Hidden in plain view since the early to mid-1800s, Jackson’s stretch of the Underground Railroad was once the holy road to the promise land for an unspeakable number of slaves. Although the exact details and inner workings of the system remain in a shroud of secrecy, many conductors left behind a trail that can still be followed. Take a trip around the county to several spots that were once key to the success of the Underground Railroad, like the First Congregational Church. Founded by a conductor, it was a temporary place of refuge, hiding people within the Romanesque revival church until it was time to move to their next stop.
Under the Oaks City Park
Compelled by nothing more than to do what was right, thousands of men and women, black and white, gathered on this very ground to form a new political party. One that stood strong against slavery and fought for equality for all. This warm July night in 1854 marked the beginning of the Republican Party and a turning point for African Americans, setting the stage for the Civil War.
Jackson citizens believed in the cause so much, that they they formed the first Civil War volunteer regiment in Michigan! These soldiers fought alongside slaves that had been freed from southern states to inevitably win the American Civil War. The bravery of those who risked their lives to fight for this just cause can be seen all around Jackson, as buildings from this time period have been preserved, multiple museums have been built to retell the stories of this time, monuments have been created, and locations have been dedicated to these brave souls. Learn more about Jackson’s involvement by taking your own Civil War tour.
Explore More Jackson History
Once you have explored Jackson’s involvement in African American history, discover the role Jackson played in the development of the region and state through our area’s numerous museums. You are sure to be fascinated and surprised by the history you uncover along your journey!