Michigan’s Freedom Trail gets new, interactive map

Historic Elmwood Cemetery as part of the Freedom Trail.
Historic Elmwood Cemetery as part of the Freedom Trail.(Matthew Clara | MI Dept. of Natural Resources)
Published: Feb. 27, 2023 at 12:07 PM EST
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MICHIGAN (WNEM) - The Michigan History Center, in partnership with the Michigan Freedom Trail Commission, has collected 24 stories of people fleeing enslavement in the mid-1800s into a new interactive map.

The map is to help anyone discover and learn more about the history of the Underground Railroad and the antislavery movement in Michigan.

The stories on the new map are tied to physical sites across the state. Some sites are marked with new signs that note a site’s recognition by the National Network to Freedom and the Michigan Freedom Trail Commission. The signs include a QR code that, when scanned by a mobile device, connects to the interactive map and the stories of people and events at that site.

“The new, interactive Michigan Freedom Trail map will share powerful stories of freedom and liberation in two dozen sites across our state,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said. “With this project, the Michigan History Center and its partners are showcasing Michigan’s stops on the Underground Railroad and bringing so many places and people to life. This is all a part of our rich, proud history, and it will now be accessible to more Michiganders and visitors.”

The Michigan Freedom Trail interactive map and updated physical signage are part of a project made possible by a 2021 grant from the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, the Department of the Interior, the National Park Service and the National Network to Freedom.

The project offers the stories of the Underground Railroad which are usually limited to museum exhibits, special events, and webinars. It makes this traditionally under-represented history a more visible part of Michigan’s story, both online and in person.

“We expect that the Michigan Freedom Trail signs and online resources will make the Underground Railroad stories a more prominent part of Michigan tourism and education,” said Sandra Clark, director of the Michigan History Center.

Explore the 24 stories on the Michigan History Center’s website.

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