Located on the East Plaza (Third Street)
The Ohio Department of Transportation and the Friends of Freedom Society co-sponsored this plaque to commemorate the history of Underground Railroad black conductors in the state's capital.
Underground Railroad Memorial-Reverse
Early legislators did not want slavery in Ohio, nor did they want Blacks to settle here. Declaring people of color a menace, they passed the Black Laws. Outside the Statehouse, Blacks went unnoticed. The turnover of black waiters and porters at the Buckeye House aroused no suspicion. White customers over looked barbers James Poindexter and Andrew Redmond. No one saw John T. Ward, clerk at Zettler's. These men were invisible to all but the desperate faces secreted in attics, barns, smoke houses, and In wagons traveling northward at night to Clintonville. Teamsters Louis Washington and his son Thomas were drivers. "The UGRR WAS ACTUALLY GOING ON HERE IN Columbus when I came in 1828." Recounted James Poindexter, Conductors David Jenkins, NB Ferguson, and John Bookel were all members of Poindexter's Antislavery Baptist Church.
In 1842, John T. Ward began assisting Shepherd Alexander to convey runaway slaves through Columbus. William Washington, William Ferguson, Jeremiah Freeland, and others were involved as well "Someone or the other of us was with Alexander on every trip," state Ward.