Black History Month brings to mind that Central Ohio played a major role in the Underground Railroad, a network of secret routes of safe houses and hiding places for runaway slaves trying to escape to freedom in Canada.
An estimated 40,000 slaves made their way through Ohio to Canada. Many did so by the cover of night and by hiding on the properties of families sympathetic to the cause of freedom. Columbus offered a number of different routes for runaway slaves.
Ohiohillcountry.org provides this description:
The Underground Railroad is a story of the search for freedom, one of the defining aspects of the American experience. It is neither a “railroad,” nor is it “underground.” Rather, it is a network of sites, routes and events that tell the story of thousands of escaped slaves trying, against all odds, to reach freedom. Ohio’s location bordering the slave-owning states of Kentucky and West Virginia (formerly Virginia) make it an area rich in Underground Railroad history.
A number of stops or stations on the Underground Railroad have turned into area landmarks. Here are six local stops along the way to freedom.