JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) – Linda Hass is taking a look at history up close.
“I’m hoping to broaden people’s perspectives to see that Jackson was much more,” said Jackson Historian, Linda Hass.
“To step on the soil where something actually happened instead of just reading about it remotely.”
For the Jackson historian, it’s a journey that’s brought her to a train station. It’s on those grounds where an underground railroad depot helped freedom seekers escape from slavery.
“Usually, they were smuggled on board the freight cars hidden in boxes, hidden in crates loaded by participating abolitionists,” said Hass.
They risked their lives on a rail ride toward freedom, many times being chased by armed men.
“The bravery that it would take, and the trust that once you’re in a box that an abolitionist is going to put you on the right train going to the right place,” said Hass.
She says on top of helping slaves escape to safety this station was the focal point for what Jackson is today.
“It brought in the supplies, it helped to actually build Jackson up.”
Now the building is the oldest designer-built train station still functioning in the US. Hass says she hopes these stories from the past can serve as a lesson for our future.
“Society is very polarized today but we can look back at the past and see a time when different races were working together for a common goal that was greater than the sum of their differences, and we can look at that and say if they could do that then, maybe there is hope for us doing that now. “