One of the reasons that I’m such a honk for the city of Rochester is her role in both the abolitionist and women’s suffrage movements of the late-1800s. Once home to both Frederick Douglas and Susan B. Anthony simultaneously, Rochester was a hot-bed for the progressive civil rights movements of the late 19th century.
There is an interesting article in this week’s edition of City Newspaper about Rochester’s role in the Underground Railroad. The city was a major hub for the illegal resistance movement, with an estimated 60 families risking their lives, property and possible imprisonment to provide shelter and security for refugee slaves making their way to freedom in Canada.
While reading this article, one of the things that really stuck out to me was the role the church played in illegally housing slaves and assisting their escape. It’s a shining example of what happens when everyday Christians take seriously God’s call for justice (Micah 6:8) and compassion for the “strangers among you” (Leviticus 19:33-34).
Whether or not you have any interest in Rochester history, this article is worth a read. It offers a great deal of detail about the history of the Underground Railroad as well as some insight into the economic, political and social conditions of the late-1800s.