Underground Railroad Tour Honors Black History Month

 

 

Cheney Mansion in Jerseyville, Illinois. housed dozens of slaves on the run in the basement of the home. To this day there are reported hauntings of slaves who were captured. Photo By: Krystie Morrison

Cheney Mansion in Jerseyville, Illinois. housed dozens of slaves on the run in the basement of the home. To this day there are reported hauntings of slaves who were captured. Photo By: Krystie Morrison

Kelly Rulison
Copy Editor

In honor of Black History Month, Lewis and Clark Community College hosted an Underground Railroad tour on Feb. 16 that was open to students as well as the public.

The tour was given by St. Louis College of Pharmacy Assistant Professor of History J.E. Robinson and began with a brief history of Black History Month itself.

The first stop on the tour was the Hamilton Primary School in Otterville, Illinois, where Robinson proceeded to talk about the monument erected in memory of George Washington, a slave, and John B. Hamilton, the slave owner and town doctor.

Robinson proceeded to talk with a passion about the history of that town and what those two men did for slaves of the period.

“History isn’t just a certain time and place. It teaches people that history is where you live, a lot important things happened in Alton,” Robinson said.

Tour director, J.E. Robinson, speaks to the group about Dr. Silas Hamilton’s life and one of his former slaves, George Washington. He also spoke about the history behind the Hamilton Primary School. Photo By: Krystie Morrison

Tour director, J.E. Robinson, speaks to the group about Dr. Silas Hamilton’s life and one of his former slaves, George Washington. He also spoke about the history behind the Hamilton Primary School. Photo By: Krystie Morrison

The next stop on the tour was the Cheney Mansion in Jerseyville, Illinois. Upon arrival, groups of 12 were allowed to enter the mansion at a time to see the hole where slaves were hidden.

The last stop on the tour was meant to be in Brighton, Illinois, however due to a medical emergency the tour was stopped short there, and the tourists did not get to see the last stop.

“The underground railroad tour is one of the staples of our Black History Month calendar,” Hennings said. “Every year it’s always well received by the community and well attended. The information and knowledge by Eric Robinson reveals important history about a significant time in our country’s history. We’ve hosted this tour for about 10 years.”

For more information about the Underground Railroad Tour email Hennings at jhenning@lc.edu.

krulison@lc.edu