News Flash

City News Stories

Posted on: August 7, 2020

Bucky Harris Park recognized by National Park Service for Underground Railroad History

Bucky Harris Park 1

A public park in Downtown Jackson is being recognized for its connections to the Underground Railroad. Bucky Harris Park was recently added to the National Park Service’s National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. It’s a program that identifies sites across the United States important to Underground Railroad history. Jackson has been identified as a stop on the Underground Railroad, which was a secret network dedicated to helping slaves escape to freedom. 

Bucky Harris Park sits at the corner of W. Michigan Avenue and N. Jackson Street. It currently  features a large mural, performance stage, fire pit and green space. In the mid-1800s, there were several commercial buildings at this location. Research from Jackson resident Linda Hass shows Michigan’s first anti-slavery newspaper, along with three other anti-slavery newspapers, were founded in these commercial buildings. 

These newspapers, which were named the Jacksonburg Sentinel, the American Freeman, the Michigan Freeman and the American Citizen, were influential in the anti-slavery movement preceding the Civil War. The American Freeman is now recognized as Michigan’s first anti-slavery newspaper.  Hass’s research shows all of the newspaper’s founders put their words into action by being involved in Underground Railroad activity in Jackson. “The four Jackson residents who founded these papers faced persecution, destruction of property and financial hardships, but they persevered for a cause they strongly believed in. Their legacy leaves an example of bravery that is relevant in all generations,” Hass said. 

After uncovering this local history, Hass collaborated with the City of Jackson to get Bucky Harris Park on the National Underground Network Railroad to Freedom listing. Next month, a new State of Michigan Historical Marker will be unveiled in the park to further recognize its history. 

Jackson’s Mt. Evergreen Cemetery received a State Historical Marker and was placed on the Underground Railroad Network to Freedom listing last year. Seven people who were involved in the Underground Railroad in Jackson, including an escaped slave, are buried in the cemetery. Both of those efforts were led by Hass. “The City of Jackson is honored to have our history get statewide and national recognition,” said Public Information Officer Aaron Dimick. “The City thanks Linda Hass and other local researchers who are bringing this important local history to light. We’re proud of these brave men and women who helped others achieve freedom.” 

Facebook Twitter Email

Other News in City News Stories

ellery

Four City-owned homes up for bid

Posted on: September 11, 2020
8-11-20 meeting

Jackson City Council Sept. 8, 2020 Meeting

Posted on: September 8, 2020
Fall newsletter video still

Fall 2020 Newsletter now available!

Posted on: September 4, 2020
8-11-20 meeting

Jackson City Council Aug. 11 Meeting

Posted on: August 11, 2020
census 2

Be Counted in the 2020 U.S. Census!

Posted on: April 1, 2020
Leaf vacuum equipment gets ready to suck up a pile of leaves

Loose leaf collection update

Posted on: March 6, 2020
Image of Mayor Dobies standing and speaking at the State of the city event.

Watch the 2020 State of the City Address

Posted on: February 28, 2020
Jackson City Council 2-25-20 meeting

Jackson City Council Feb. 25, 2020 meeting

Posted on: February 25, 2020
the city council chambers full of people for a city council meeting

Jackson City Council Feb. 11, 2020 meeting

Posted on: February 11, 2020
City Hall winter spring

City of Jackson warns of email scam

Posted on: February 4, 2020