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Calvin and Porter Townships (Cass County), Michigan
Around 1840, escaped slaves, mostly from Kentucky, found their way to Calvin and Porter in Michigan. Quakers had established the settlements, and when slave owners attempted to reclaim the slaves, their efforts were resisted and the communities continued to grow. Ex-slaves from the Saunders' plantation in West Virginia moved to Calvin in 1849 and became the majority of the township's population. Over the years the population spilled over into Porter. Both Calvin and Porter are located in the South Bend/Mishawaka metro area of Michigan on the Indiana border. Today Calvin's population is about 2,000, Porter's about 3,800. For more see the reprint by Booker T. Washington, "Two Generations Under Freedom," The Michigan Citizen, 12/19/1992, vol. XV, issue 4, p. A12; Negro Folktales in Michigan, edited by R. M. Dorson. For more on the raids led by Kentucky slave owners see B. C. Wilson, "Kentucky kidnappers, fugitives, and abolitionists in Antebellum Cass County, Michigan," Michigan History, vol.6, issue 4, pp. 339-358. See also the Perry Sanford entry.
Subjects: Freedom, Migration North, Riots and Protests Outside Kentucky, Slavery in Kentucky, Sources
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Calvin and Porter, Michigan / West Virginia / West Bend, Indiana