Iowa was more than a stopover in anti-slavery’s Underground Railroad


Feb 26, 2017 at 6:00 am | Print View

One of America’s most well-known slavery abolitionists spent time in Eastern Iowa preparing for his infamous 1859 raid on a federal arsenal in the South.

John Brown hoped the raid on Harpers Ferry, in what’s now West Virginia, would trigger an uprising of slavery freedom fighters.

He trained his group of supporters in Springdale at the home of William Maxson, according to the Cedar County Historical Society Review.

While Brown’s raid was ill-fated — even resulting in his hanging — his journeys across Iowa highlighted the state’s importance in the Underground Railroad — the secretive routes and safe houses that helped slaves escape to freedom in the 19th century.

“Iowa’s role in the Underground Railroad has been significantly understated and underrepresented…



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