A local group is looking to expand a monument to Racine's role in the underground railroad.
The Professional Women's Network for Service Inc. wants to develop the area around the city's Underground Railroad/Maritime Monument on Gaslight Pointe near the Chauncery Restaurant.
Pauline Mitchell, PWNS' arts committee chair, wrote the city on June 6 laying out plans to place a new sign, light the monument and create a walkway around it. The new sign would honor Racine resident Achas Dutton, who provided shelter for fugitive slave Joshua Glover in 1854 before Glover escaped to Canada. Dutton provide shelter for over 100 fugitives over 20 years.
Mitchell and PWNS hope further developing the monument will make it an attractive destination for local and visiting history buffs. The monument was Racine's second historical site approved by the U.S. National Parks Service and its Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program. Racine is one of three cities in the country to have two such markers.
"Our City of Racine took a bold stand more than a century ago to preserve human dignity and assist in offering slaves a route to freedom on the shores of Lake Michigan," Mitchell wrote in her letter about PWNS' project. "We ask that the City of Racine take a bold stand today and assist us in our efforts to enhance an historical site on this same shore for citizens and tourists to behold for centuries to come."
The PWNS request will be taken up the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Board after being introduced to the City Council Tuesday night.
(Right-top: The Underground Railroad/Maritime at Gaslight Pointe in Racine. Right-bottom: Text on the monument.)