UW-Green Bay Archives presents ‘Stories from the Archives: Green Bay’s Underground Railroad History’

Note: because of the popularity of this event, it will be moved to Phoenix C, University Union, Green Bay Campus.

Green Bay, Wis. — The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Archives and Area Research Center is launching a new series: “Stories from the Archives.” The Archives provides research assistance to scholars on a wide variety of topics and is witness to many projects that stem from its vast array of historical collections. The series will provide an opportunity to share with the public, these profound research efforts and projects.

In conjunction with Black History Month, the first program in the series is Green Bay’s Underground Railroad History. The free program will be Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in Phoenix C, University Union. It is open to the public. Those interested in attending are asked to RSVP through Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/326862398471573/.

Following its founding in 1835, Green Bay’s First Presbyterian Church (today’s Union Congregational Church) served as a station on the Underground Railroad. As church historian Ethel Cady put it in 1955, “from the first” the church had an “anti-slavery stand” which was reflected in the abolitionism of its first three ministers, and some members of the congregation. On three separate occasions in the mid-nineteenth century, First Presbyterian Church sheltered freedom seekers making their way from enslavement to freedom.

Through archival research, Victoria Tashjian uncovered the rich history of local efforts regarding the Underground Railroad. This program will describe First Presbyterian Church’s participation in the Underground Railroad as well as Tashjian’s research experience which culminated in the site being designated for the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. The Underground Railroad activities of Native American residents of Stockbridge and Stantonville (today Chilton), will also be discussed briefly.

Tashjian is a professor of history at St. Norbert College. She is the co-author of I Will Not Eat Stone: A Women’s History of Colonial Asante, along with other books and articles. In recent years, she has been researching the history of African Americans living in Northeast Wisconsin and the Fox River Valley in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The results of her research have appeared in Voyageur Magazine: Northeast Wisconsin’s Historical Review and the Wisconsin Magazine of History, as well as on Wisconsin Public Radio.

For more information about the program, contact Archivist Deb Anderson, andersod@uwgb.edu at 920-465-2539.

Photo used by permission from the Wisconsin Historical Society, Image ID: 31586 of the First Presbyterian Church (now Union Congregational Church), corner of Adams and Crooks Streets, Green Bay. The Church was a site of Underground Railroad activities in Green Bay.


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