The element being nominated for inclusion in the Network to Freedom is entitled the Underground Railroad Living Experience. Its theme is the preservation of the universal right of freedom through the unified efforts of a caring, courageous community. It is an experiential tour that is a part of the Living Museum of the Historic First Congregational Church of Detroit, which prior to moving to its present location in 1891, was located on Fort and Wayne streets in downtown Detroit, and church records describe as one to the stations of the UGRR. As a Program Partner of the Detroit 300th Anniversary Celebration in the year 2001, the Church develop a tour in 6000 square feet of its lower level which simulates an Underground Railroad escape. The one hour "escape" tours, which take place in the year 1856, begin with the participant/slaves receiving a slave "shackle" and them being led by a Conductor on a 1000 mile escape from a sugar cane plantation in Louisiana through alligator-infested swamps and deep dense forests, over the Ohio River, through Indiana, Michigan, and finally over the Detroit River to freedom in Canada. Along the way, they encounter cast members portraying other runaway slaves, slave catchers, Quaker safe house keepers, a Congregational Minister, and a host of others. "Escaping slave" participants describe the experience as both enlightening and heart-wrenching.
Visitor Information: Currently open to public.
Location: 33 East Forest Avenue, Detroit, 48201
National Park Unit: No
Ownership: Historic First Congregational Churc
Location Type: Program