In 1656, a planter in colonial Maryland tortured and killed one of his slaves, an Angolan man named Antonio who refused to work the fields. Over three centuries later, a Detroit labor organizer named Simon Owens watched as strikebreakers wielding bats and lead pipes beat his fellow autoworkers for protesting their inhumane working conditions. Antonio and Owens had nothing in common but the color of their skin and the economic injustices they battled - yet the former is what defines them in America’s consciousness.
The Underground Railroad was the passage to freedom for many slaves, but it was rife with dangers. There were dedicated conductors and safe houses, but also arduous nights in the mountains and days in threatening towns. For those who made it to Midnight (the code name given to Detroit), the Detroit River became a River Jordan and Canada became their land of Canaan - the Promised Land where they could live freely in black settlements under the protection of British law.
"An opportunity to learn about a neglected history"