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Finney's Barn

Finney's Barn (after the war)
Finney’s Barn:
Those of you who have read THE MEDALLION are familiar with the notorious Seymour Finney and his barn. A tailor by trade, Seymour Finney was also one of Detroit’s strongest and most clever abolitionists. Active in the movement and the early Underground Railroad, he took action when the Fugitive Slave Act became law. He opened a tavern near what is now State and Griswold, then he opened a hotel with a large barn ostensibly to hold carriages and horses. Interestingly, his facility was called a temperance house. His barn was used to hide runaway slaves until they could be transported to Canada. He welcomed slave-catchers in his tavern to draw their attention away from the real facility. Read More 
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Fugitive Slave Act

Abolition was a powerful movement in pre-Civil War Detroit, although it was not necessarily popular with the entire population. Among the proponents were a group of city leaders and their wives. As a result, Detroit was one of several northern cities that became places of refuge for runaway slaves. Initially, once a slave reached a slave-free state or territory, they were generally safe. But the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 changed everything. Now a slave could only be free by leaving the country, i.e. escaping to Canada. Detroit became one of several U.S. cities to play a major role in the Underground Railroad, both because of geography and a group of citizens faithful to the cause. Read More 
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