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Free Black Communities and the Underground RailroadThe Geography of Resistance$
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Cheryl Janifer LaRoche

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780252038044

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252038044.001.0001

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Miller Grove, Illinois

Miller Grove, Illinois

Linking a Free Black Community to the Underground Railroad

(p.43) Chapter 2 Miller Grove, Illinois
Free Black Communities and the Underground Railroad

Cheryl Janifer LaRoche

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines the connections between the Miller Grove community of free Blacks and the Underground Railroad. Established in 1844, Miller Grove is a cluster of rural farmsteads named for Bedford Miller, whose family stood among the sixty-eight people who received their freedom from one of four White families in south-central Tennessee. Primary archaeological excavations at Miller Grove took place at the farmstead of William Riley Williams, a free-born African American from Tennessee. Among the original migrants, former slaveholder Henry Sides and his wife lived among the freemen and freewomen at Miller Grove. This chapter begins with a discussion of how the American Missionary Association, through its missionary work, linked known Underground Railroad participants across the country. It then considers abolitionist strategies, particularly the dissemination of antislavery literature among African Americans. By tracing the history of Miller Grove, the chapter reveals distinct details of community formation and interracial cooperation within regional Underground Railroad operations.

Keywords:   antislavery, Miller Grove, free Blacks, Underground Railroad, Bedford Miller, freedom, archaeological excavations, American Missionary Association, African Americans, interracial cooperation

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