University Park, IL,
09:11 AM

GSU founding faculty member to discuss Underground Railroad in South Suburbs

Dr. McClellan

Dr. Larry McClellan, an esteemed historian and founding faculty member of Governors State University (GSU), will give a presentation on the Underground Railroad in the South Suburbs Feb. 15.

For McClellan, who started researching the topic in the 1970s after looking into historic Black communities in the south suburbs, his findings highlight a broader understanding we need to have about the Underground Railroad.

“We need to understand that the movement of freedom seekers was a national experience,” he said. “Most people think it was happening only on the east coast.”

But also, the research is “an affirmation that Black history matters,” he said.

“There are so many parts of our national history that have been underplayed or ignored, that really grow out of things that are central to the African American experience,” he said. “So I think emphasizing the Underground Railroad activity here is a reminder of the importance of the movement of African American folks through the region.”

According to his research, 3,000 to 4,500 freedom seekers passed through northeastern Illinois from the 1820s through 1861, reaching from La Salle and Livingston Counties to the southwest into Will and Cook Counties. 

On Feb. 15, Dr. McClellan, will take to the Center for Performing Arts stage at 6:30 p.m., covering his decades long research.  Reservations are required to attend. Call 708.534.3145.

For more information on McClellan’s research, visit