Freedom In Sight – The Underground Railroad – Detroit, originally uploaded by ShinsanBC.
This is a view of Ed Dwight’s marvelous sculpture “Gateway To Freedom” that commemorates the roles of Detroit and Windsor, Ontario in the Underground Railroad.
The “Underground Railway” was neither a railway or underground, but a network of freed slaves, abolitionists, and freedom loving whites, blacks and native Americans, that protected and ferried escaped American slaves to freedom in Canada. Windsor, just south of Detroit across the Detroit river was a major freedom destination for these runaways.
I am inspired and moved by those who risked life and property to uphold a belief in freedom and justice when slavery was held in place by those would profit from it. There are still such heroes, working tirelessly to end injustice, in the face of overwhelming economic and political power.
There is always that undercurrent in the United States that pushes against the status quo, for justice and equality, striving for a “more perfect union”. The front lines of the fight have moved, due to the efforts of the past brave ones, but there is still much to do.
This is the inscription on the base of the sculpture:
“Until Emancipation, Detroit and the Detroit River community served as the gateway to freedom for thousands of American people escaping enslavement. Detroit was one of the largest terminals of the Underground Railroad, a network of abolitionists aiding enslaved people seeking freedom. Detroit’s Underground Railroad code name was Midnight. At first, Michigan was a destination for freedom seekers, but Canada became a safer sanctuary after slavery was abolished there in 1834. With passage of the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850, many runaways left their homes in Detroit and crossed the river to Canada to remain free. Some returned after Emancipation in 1863.
The successful operation of Detroit’s Underground Railroad was due to the effort and cooperation of diverse groups of people, including people of African descent, Whites, and North American Indians. This legacy of freedom is a vital part of Detroit and its history.”
To find out more about the Underground Railroad in Michigan:
Ed Dwight the sculptor of this work is a remarkable man: Test pilot, the first African American astronaut trainee, computer systems analyst, aviation consultant, real estate developer, restaurateur, award winning sculptor and more. You can find out more about him and his work at: