African-Americans in Ohio
Because of its social stance as an anti-slavery state, Ohio was a destination for a number of escaped slaves before the Civil War. As early as the 1870s, members of the Society of Friends (a Peace Church within the Quaker faith) actively assisted former slaves in their search for freedom. Ohio was important in the operation of the Underground Railroad. While some escaped slaves passed through Ohio on the way to Canada, a large number settled in Ohio, particularly in growing cities like Cleveland and Cincinnati. By 1860, almost 37,000 African-Americans lived in Ohio.
African-Americans also greatly contributed to the state’s culture. For some examples of these contributions, click the portraits on this page.
You can also learn more about Ohio’s role in the Underground Railroad by visiting Cincinnati’s National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.