Sign In  |  View Cart  |    |  Help  |  
Print Course information
Email to a friend
Return to Course Catalog

> History

Follow the Drinking Gourd: Underground Railroad   

IN-PERSON: The Elderwise classroom at the Vineyard Church

NOTE: A special guest will be joining presenter Rochelle Balkam for this in-person class: Marj, a retired local realtor, here in Ann Arbor, and a friend of Rochelle's. Both of Marj's great-great grandfathers were enslaved and escaped to Canada. Come join us and hear her fascinating story first-hand. 

Few periods of United States history are more important and less understood than the years leading to the Civil War. That is particularly true of the Underground Railroad. The origin of the term is unclear; a slavecatcher is believed to have uttered the phrase “the slaves disappeared, like they had boarded a railway underground.” The proximity to Canada via the Detroit River put Michigan on the map of underground railroad routes. Washtenaw County was the next to the last stop before arriving at the river. For many, it was the most dangerous point of the journey, since the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 made it a crime to harbor “runaways.” Join us as we follow one family’s story. Rochelle Balkam taught history and government at Ypsilanti High School for 36 years, and taught Michigan history at Eastern Michigan University (EMU) for 27 years. She holds an M.A. degree in history and an M.S. in historic preservation from EMU. Rochelle serves on the board of the Michigan One-Room Schoolhouse Association, and formerly served on the board of the Historical Society of Michigan and the Ann Arbor Historic Commission. 


  • Follow the Drinking Gourd: Underground Railroad

  • REGISTRATION NOT AVAILABLE Please click the "Add to Waitlist" button below.
  •  Show Description


  • Fee: $15.00

  • Instructor: Rochelle Balkam

    Capacity Remaining: 0

  • Dates: 10/18/2023 - 10/18/2023

    Times: 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

  • Sessions: 1

    Days: W

  • Building: Vineyard Church

    Room: Classroom at the Vineyard Church

Return to Home Page


Some Title