'A Path to Freedom’ Film About DuPage County’s Underground Railroad
February 25, 2021

‘A Path to Freedom’ Film About DuPage County’s Underground Railroad

College of DuPage (COD) and the DuPage County Board have created a short film about the role DuPage County had in the Underground Railroad.

Underground Railroad Film

The film is called “The Underground Railroad in DuPage County – A Path to Freedom”, and is a part of the COD and DuPage County Chaps Unite Against Racism initiative.  

“What this film does is highlight the different stops on the Underground Railroad [in DuPage County],” said Nathania Montes, the Interim Dean of Student Development at COD. “And also the role individuals had in terms of their courage and bravery in helping freedom as well.” 

Railroad Routes

Some of the stops in DuPage County used by freedom seekers were at Wheaton College, and in Lombard, and Naperville. 

“If there’s 50,000 people that traveled on the Underground Railroad in the 40 years before the Civil War, there were 50,000 ways they did it,” said Director of Learning Experiences and Historical Resources at Naper Settlement Jeanne Schultz Angel. “So this notion that it was sort of like a set pattern or set trail, that’s really not quite accurate in history. The Underground Railroad really more refers to the network of people in places that helped freedom seekers get to Canada.”

Schultz Angel is one of several historians featured on The Underground Railroad in DuPage County – A Path to Freedom.

She said there were a couple stops in Naperville which freedom seekers used, including the Stanley House, which is now at Naper Settlement and known as the Halfway House, and possibly the Strong House.

Abolitionists in DuPage County like Sheldon Peck made it possible for enslaved people to get their freedom.

 “The overall message, which is one of hope, is really about how change can happen one person at a time: one person willing to take a risk, one person wiling to speak out, and how that can have a ripple effect. When people stand up for what they view to be not right, change can happen as well,” said Montes.

The short film is on COD’s Facebook page.

Naperville News 17’s Christian Canizal reports.

 

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