Michigan was the 26th state added into the United States of America, therefore we have been witness to what has been successful and what has been unsuccessful in regards to running a government. This is just one of the many reasons as why Michigan was an advocate for abolition. We saw what slavery did to the South, and we did not want those issues to come into the North. The abolition movement was also popular in Michigan due to our close proximity to Canada. In Michigan Voices by Rubenstein (page 90), it mentions that “Detroit, Port Huron, and Mount Clemens were used to transport slaves into Canada where they were free.” Canada in the mid 1800’s was a safe haven for fugitive slaves. Early settlers to Michigan were also quite religious, and viewed slavery as a sin. Hence the reason why the abolition movement was popular in Michigan.
Due to the abolitionist movement, slavery ended in 1865. This was great news, except if you were an African American. With the end of slavery, the African Americans expected equality, but what they actually received was low-class treatment. They were not allowed to vote, they could not drink out of the same water fountains, and had to sit in the back of the bus. The supporters of the abolition movement wanted slavery to end, but they still wanted to keep their servants. They ended up treating the African Americans as poorly as they could while still abiding by the law. I found it amusing how in 1870, people held a celebration in Detroit to celebrate the closing of the Underground Railroad (Rubenstein p.93). Sure, it was great for slavery to be over, but how did the treatment of the African Americans actually change?
Think of slavery as thunder, you hear it before the storm which in this case is the Civil War. Slavery went on for hundreds of years, and it all led up to the ginormous storm. This storm took place on American soil and eventually led to the termination of slavery in 1865. After every storm comes a rainbow, and in this case our rainbow is the end of segregation. This rainbow took a hundred years of advocating by the African Americans. There is a clear line between ending a slave labor system which seemed easy in the retrospect of history and accepting another racial group as equal. Accepting another race as equal is one of the hardest problems our nation has faced. The African Americans suffered through the Jim Crow Laws and the nasty remarks by white people. This issue is still going on today, as racial segregation has not fully ended.
Abolition terminated slavery in America, and a hundred years after, segregation was also terminated. However, segregation is not in the past completely. There are still some sprinkles from the storm of slavery glooming over America. The nation has not fully accepted another racial group as equal. On a wide scale, we have made some drastic movements toward full acceptance. In the past, Miss America was awarded to an African American, and our president was also of a different race. Segregation divided our nation, but we are putting the pieces back together one day at a time.
Rubenstein, Bruce A., and Lawrence E. Ziewacz. Michigan: a History of the Great Lakes State. Wiley, 2014.