Racine County Underground Railroad Tour

Roots of Freedom: Racine County Underground Railroad History

Self-Guided Tour of Racine County's Underground Railroad Heritage Trail

Heritage Trail Map

In the 1840s and 1850s, as the Underground Railroad extended into southeastern Wisconsin, Racine County emerged as a pivotal maritime junction. Its harbor served as a crucial final waypoint for African American slaves journeying northward towards liberation in Canada.

Wisconsin’s congressional representatives unanimously opposed the federal government’s Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, which mandated the return of runaway slaves to their owners. This law also penalized individuals who assisted or sheltered runaways with fines and imprisonment.

Racine County provided support to hundreds of runaways seeking freedom. Today, it is acknowledged as a significant part of the Underground Railroad’s crucial yet often overlooked “Western Front.”

Explore more than 20 currently known historic sites that help tell the county’s story of resistance to slavery.

Racine County Underground Railroad Tour

Joshua Glover

The refuge provided by Racine and its surrounding counties to Joshua Glover, a runaway from Missouri who was captured and later escaped in 1854, sparked a nationwide outcry. This event also prompted Wisconsin to take a bold stance as the only state before the Civil War to decisively declare the Fugitive Slave Act unconstitutional. This further elevates the historical importance of all sites associated with Glover.

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Joshia Glover

Greater Racine County (GRC) is an initiative of the Racine County Economic Development Corporation (RCEDC)  that highlights and promotes the many positive assets of Racine County for those who decide to take root in Racine County.

We encourage visitors to explore Racine County, stay a while, and enjoy our communities.

Racine, US
1:54 pm, April 15, 2024
temperature icon 71°F
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Sunrise: 5:09 am
Sunset: 6:34 pm

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