I mentioned in yesterday’s post that the church I featured was near a monument to the Underground Railroad. Mike and I took a few pictures of it from a distance on the first day as we were walking to the casino, but I was so drawn to it that we returned the next morning to take close up photos. It is aptly called the Tower of Freedom, and the inscription reads, “International Underground Railroad Memorial – Keeping the Flame of Freedom Alive”. It’s companion work called the Gateway to Freedom is located across the river in Hart Plaza in Detroit. They were both dedicated on October 20, 2001.
A plaque on the base reads as follows: “From the early nineteenth century until the American Civil War, settlements along the Detroit and Niagara rivers were important terminals of the Underground Railroad. White and black abolitionists formed a heroic network dedicated to helping free and enslaved African Americans find freedom from oppression. By 1861, some 30,000 freedom-seekers resided in what is now Ontario, after secretly travelling north from slave states like Kentucky and Virginia. Some returned south after the outbreak of the Civil War, but many remained, helping to forge the modern Canadian identity.”
This memorial really moved me. I have great respect for the people who put their own lives in danger to help people who had been so horribly wronged and mistreated. Their bravery was phenomenal – the African Americans for leaving and the people of the underground railroad for helping them. The whole idea of the prejudice that these people who are just like you and I went through, and still go through today to some extent in certain areas, just disgusts me. How can the colour of a person’s skin matter, when the hearts beating in their chests are the same as yours and mine. I know that mankind has been constantly working to eradicate prejudice in the world, but it’s still out there and that saddens me. However, looking at this memorial puts hope in one’s heart.