International Underground Railroad Memorial, Detroit, MI & Windsor, Canada
Commissioned by Detroit 300, Inc., an international consortium, of the U.S. & Canada, these two sculpture memorials honor Detroit and the State of Michigan’s Underground Railroad System, with a network of operatives, safe houses and a point of debarkation to Windsor, Canada. It also honors the City of Windsor and the State of Ontario as a point of willing embarkation for safe refuge for thousands of enslaved Africans.
The Detroit sculpture component features two gateway pillars that bracket a ten foot by twelve foot sculpture with nine slaves and a railroad 'Conductor' looking and pointing toward Canada in anticipation to board the boat across the Detroit River to safety. This assemblage is installed in Hart Plaza on the bank of the Detroit River, on the existing river front promenade.
The Windsor installation features a twenty-two foot high granite Freedom Tower that also serves as a candle representing the Internal Flame of Freedom. On the Canadian side are a male slave giving thanks and a female slave holding a baby. A female Canadian Underground Railroad conductor is welcoming them both to safety. On the U.S. side of the tower is a small slave girl, nostalgically looking back toward America. This component is installed near the River Front Drive on the City of Windsor promenade.
The monuments were installed in 2001.