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Onward to Chicago: Freedom Seekers and the Underground Railroad in Northeastern Illinois

February 8 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm


Onward to Chicago: Freedom Seekers and the Underground Railroad in Northeastern Illinois
A Presentation by Larry McClellan


You can add your name to the wait list (below) and we will contact you if any spaces open up.

Thursday, February 8, 2024, 1:00 – 2:00 PM
A book signing, made possible by our partner, Bookends & Beginnings, will follow the event.

In-person event
At the Evanston History Center
225 Greenwood St, Evanston, IL

It is through our community’s generosity that we can offer these free programs! Please consider donating $10 to support our ongoing free public programming.

About the event:

Join us for a presentation by Larry McClellan, author of Onward to Chicago: Freedom Seekers and the Underground Railroad in Northeastern Illinois. Decades before the Civil War, Illinois’s status as a free state beckoned enslaved people, particularly those in Kentucky and Missouri, to cross porous river borders and travel toward new lives. While traditional histories of the Underground Railroad in Illinois start in 1839, and focus largely on the romanticized tales of white men, Larry A. McClellan reframes the story, only only introducing readers to earlier freedom seekers, but also illustrating that those who bravely aided them were Black and White, men and women. McClellan features dozens of individuals who made dangerous journeys to reach freedom as well as residents in Chicago Chicago and across northeastern Illinois who made a deliberate choice to break the law to help. In September, McClellan received the Underground Railroad Free Press 2023 Memorial Prize for the Advancement of Knowledge for his work and his new book, calling it “the finest book yet … for a close-up look at the Underground Railroad as it actually happened.”

Dr. Larry McClellan has written extensively on the Underground Railroad in Illinois and northwest Indiana. He was the principal author of applications that added sites in Crete, Lockport, and on the Little Calumet River to the National Park Service registry of significant Underground Railroad sites in America. In 1970, he helped to start Governors State University and taught there for many years. He is now an Emeritus Professor of Sociology and Community Studies at GSU.

Thanks to our partner, Bookends & Beginnings, for making the book signing possible!


If you don’t receive a confirmation email, please email Erin Hughes at


February 8
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Event Categories:


Evanston History Center Events


Evanston History Center
225 Greenwood Street
Evanston, IL 60201 United States
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