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Freedom Trail Hike set for August 5, 2023

Registration required for free event

CHICAGO, Ill. (July 17, 2023) – Residents throughout the region are invited to walk in the steps of Freedom Seekers on Saturday, August 5.

Professor Larry McClellan, foremost authority on the Underground Railroad in Northern Illinois, and Tom Shepherd of the Little Calumet River Underground Railroad Project will lead the educational outing and describe the history of the Underground Railroad in the Calumet region. The program is co-sponsored by the Forest Preserves of Cook County and the Calumet Heritage Project.

The tour will depart from the Beaubien Woods Boat Launch (134th and Little Calumet River) at 10 a.m. and will finish around 12:30 p.m.

Participants will hear the story of the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of escaped slaves who traveled the Underground Railroad through the south Chicago region seeking freedom in the north prior to the Civil War. These Freedom Seekers often found refuge and replenishment with local abolitionists such as the Jan Ton family, who owned a farm near Beaubien Woods Forest Preserve on the Little Calumet River.

The tour will be partly by bus, and partly by a hike requiring moderate walking. Participants are reminded to dress appropriately for the weather.

Freedom Trail
Professor Larry McClellan will share the history of the Freedom Trail, or Underground Railroad, in the Calumet region. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma, 2018)

Pre-registration for the free event is required as seating is limited:

Potential participants may contact Tom Shepherd directly for more information:

The Little Calumet River Underground Railroad Project is recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)3 not-for-profit charitable and educational organization. Donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law, and may be sent to:

  • LCRUGRR c/o Chicago Embassy Church
    15910 Cottage Grove Avenue
    South Holland, IL 60473


Melanie Jongsma
Melanie Jongsma
Melanie Jongsma grew up in Lansing, Illinois, and believes The Lansing Journal has an important role to play in building community through trustworthy information.