Experience New England's network to freedom.
On the third Saturday of every month, visitors can learn about the significant role Springfield and its residents played in helping move Africans from slavery to freedom. Thanks to the Pan African Historical Museum (PAHMUSA), the Underground Railroad Walking Tour is open to the public. Museum Director Sam Bradley strives to continue the legacy of Lujuana Hood, PAHMUSA's founder and Springfield community leader, who passed in May 2019. This tour begins at the museum in Tower Square, 1500 Main Street, Springfield, MA 01103, on the second floor. Here visitors discover letters, photographs, maps, and artifacts that help provide background information about the tour. Sam Bradley, PAHMUSA Executive Director, and docents serve as tour guides on the two-hour walk along city blocks. Costumed actors enhance the story by presenting the challenging and dangerous journey slaves embarked on when fleeing the south in search of freedom in the north. The docents provide powerful insight into the Underground Railroad’s clandestine operation. The stretch of downtown from Main Street between Howard and Union streets to the old Railroad Bridge at Gridiron Street is filled with points of reference to the Underground Railroad. Though only a few mid-1800s buildings are still standing, locations relevant to this rich chapter in Springfield’s history are documented on a map created by Springfield Technical Community College. For example, the office of Dr. George White, which was in part a changing station for runaway Africans, is now the site of the MassMutual Center. Old First Church, though it did not serve as one of the secret hiding places, contributed mightily to the Underground Railroad through its minister, Reverend Osgood. He served as a conductor in the freedom movement. Tour guides tell the story of an enslaver who came to Springfield to reclaim his property, a woman named Jenny Cumfrey Williams. Rev. Howard, also of Old First Church, negotiated a price for the woman and raised the $100 to buy her freedom. "I want them to learn the history, to see what people did to regain something that a younger person will take for granted," said Bradley. Dating back to the 1830s, Springfield was a pivotal stop on the Underground Railroad. Populated with Black and white abolitionists, Springfield business owners provided refuge for runaway slaves. The Underground Railroad Tour will stop a
1500 Main Street, Springfield, MA, USA