Oberlin in Lorain County, Ohio — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Oberlin and the Underground Railroad
— Historic Underground Railroad Site —
In 1859, Oberlin’s African American lawyer and activist, John Mercer Langston recruited two of the town’s prominent young men of color, John A. Copeland and Lewis Sheridan Leary into John Brown’s band of twenty-one raiders. They attacked the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia. Leary was killed during the unsuccessful attempt to bring about emancipation through a slave insurrection. Before his hanging in Charleston, Virginia on December 19, 1859, Copeland wrote to his family in Oberlin: “how dear brother could
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Abolition & Underground RR • African Americans • War, US Civil.
Location. 41° 17.661′ N, 82° 13.026′ W. Marker is in Oberlin, Ohio, in Lorain County. Marker is at the intersection of East Lorain Street (Ohio Route 511) and North Main Street (Ohio Route 58), on the right when traveling west on East Lorain Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Oberlin OH 44074, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Antoinette Brown Blackwell and First Church in Oberlin (within shouting distance of this marker); Downtown Oberlin Historic District (approx. 0.2 miles away); Willard Van Orman Quine (approx. ¼ mile away); Oberlin College and Community / Abolitionism in Oberlin (approx. 0.3 miles away); Charles M. Hall and Frank M. Jewett (approx. 0.4 miles away); Welcome to Oberlin Heritage Center (approx. 0.4 miles away); The Burrell-King House (approx. 0.6 miles away); Westwood Cemetery (approx. one mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Oberlin.
Also see . . . Chapter 7, The Underground Railroad. From Oberlin: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow ... Edited by Jan DeMartinis, Jean Ebosh and Gail Wood. Illustrated. Excerpt:
You(Submitted on January 6, 2020.)
If you walked around Oberlin, you’d see all the children in school together, learning to read and write. The school in Oberlin was open to all children, no matter what color of skin they had. There was even a school called the “Liberty School” where grown-ups could learn to read and write.
You would have found out that black and white hands worked together to build First Church. A lot of African-Americans in Oberlin were skilled carpenters and builders.
You would have found that black and white people attend this church, and sit right along side each other listening to the famous white minister, Charles Finney, preach. Black Oberlinians could also choose to worship together, at the Liberty School, or outside if the weather was nice, listening to black preachers.
You would have found that “Patterson’s Corner,” a big brick building on the southeast corner of Main and Lorain Streets, held the grocery store owned by Henry Patterson, an African-American. Several of his older children attended Oberlin College.
Credits. This page was last revised on January 6, 2020. It was originally submitted on January 6, 2020, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. This page has been viewed 90 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on January 6, 2020, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.
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