Since before statehood in 1837, the people of Michigan have struggled to define and ensure the civil rights of fellow citizens. Michigan's civil rights history is interesting and complex. The state was sometimes in conflict with national laws as illustrated by court cases emanating from Underground Railroad activities and the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793. Michigan also blazed a desegregationist path leading the nation in legally abolishing segregation in public schools in 1869.
From Resistance to Rights will explore Michigan's role as a site of contestation between anti- and pro-slavery forces, Michigan as a microcosm of national and international forces of slavery and freedom, and the connections among 19th and 20th century dimensions of America's civil rights movement. Through detailed examination of this history, the site aims to advance our understanding of freedom and what citizens in a democratic society can do when they believe freedom is in jeopardy.