|Pages/Publication Date:||304 / 2018|
When black settlers Keziah and Charles Grier started clearing their frontier land in 1818, they couldn't know that they were part of the nation's earliest struggle for equality, but within a few years, they would become Underground Railroad conductors. Telling the story of the Griers and many others like them, Anna-Lisa Cox surveys the lost history of the nation's first Great Migration. Their new home, the Northwest Territory—present-day Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin—was the first region to ban slavery and have equal voting rights for all men. In building settlements on the frontier, these black pioneers were making a stand for equality and freedom, but as Cox recounts, political and even armed battles ensued, tearing apart families and communities long before the Civil War.