Restoring the Under the Oaks Historic Site

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We are excited to announce that we are teaming up with the Jackson Historical Society and The City of Jackson Department of Parks & Recreation to clean up the Under the Oaks Historic Site! This will be a one day activity on July 6th from 9:00 am – 11:00 am.

We are planning to clean the area, plant fresh flowers and plants and spread fresh mulch.

You might ask “Why July 6th?” Well it holds significant historical importance! On this date in 1854, just after the anniversary of the nation, an anti-slavery state convention was held in Jackson, Michigan. The hot day forced the large crowd outside to a nearby oak grove. At this “Under the Oaks Convention” the first statewide candidates were selected for what would become the Republican Party.

United by desire to abolish slavery, it was in Jackson that the Platform of the Under the Oaks Convention read: “…we will cooperate and be known as Republicans…” Prior to July, smaller groups had gathered in intimate settings like the schoolhouse in Ripon, Wisconsin. However, the meeting in Jackson would be the first ever mass gathering of the Republican Party.

The name “Republican” was chosen, alluding to Thomas Jefferson’s Democratic-Republican Party and conveying a commitment to the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Another important part of restoring the Under the Oaks Site includes the restoration of the Underground Railroad Tour sign displayed there. Under the Oaks is the third stop on our featured Underground Railroad tour around downtown Jackson. This tour is one of our most popular, bringing in large groups from all around the state and midwest to learn about our rich history. The display sign for this stop will soon be revamped to polish off the fresh space.

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