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Underground Railroad ceremony set for fall

Detroit, and points emanating onward, was once a central stop along the Underground Railroad, a network of clandestine routes and safe houses established throughout the south, north and midwest during the early and mid-19th century offering shelter to escaped enslaved people.

On Saturday, September 17, the city of Birmingham will host an Underground Railroad Commemoration Ceremony at Quarton Lake, followed by a tour of Greenwood Cemetery.

The early gravesites at Greenwood Cemetery of Elijah Fish and George Taylor are now recognized on the National Park Service’s Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. The city of Birmingham is inviting residents and visitors to a special ceremony as it formally acknowledges the National Park Service's listing of Greenwood as a historic site, and Birmingham as a historic stop along the Underground Railroad, with a commemorative event on Saturday, September 17, 2022.

A brief program will take place at 11 a.m. at the north end of Baldwin Park at Quarton Lake, at the corner of Oak and Lakeside, just one block from Greenwood Cemetery. A tour of the gravesites will take place immediately following the program.

This important designation was approved following hard work and research by Birmingham Museum staff and volunteers, who were able to show the two men had direct connections to local anti-slavery efforts leading up the Civil War. Pioneer settler Elijah Fish was an active abolitionist, and George Taylor himself escaped enslavement and followed the Underground Railroad through Michigan to freedom, becoming the first African American to own property in Birmingham.


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