Monday, January 10, 2011
Peoria [Knockin' On Freedom's Door, by Preston Jackson]
Knockin' On Freedom's Door..
by Preston Jackson..
Dedicated October 24, 2008..
Location: corner of Liberty Street and Jefferson Avenue
Outside of Peoria Civic Center..
The sculpture honors Peoria's role in the historic Underground Railroad movement. It commemorate the historic Pettengill Home Site, the home of Moses and Lucy Pettengill. This site is historically significant because the Pettengill’s were active in the anti-slavery movement and provided assistance to those seeking freedom on the Underground Railroad.
Knocking on Freedom's Door..
From the 1840s to 1860s, the Moses and Lucy Pettengill House at the corner of Liberty and Jefferson was a safe house for hunted slaves escaping north along the Underground Railroad to freedom.
In 2003, the Peoria Civic Center Authority voted to develop the Pettengill housing location as Peoria's newest historic site. In Dec 2005, the National Park Service officially named Peoria as the 11th Illinois Underground Railway Network to Freedom Historic Site.
Preston Jackson, internationally known African American sculptor and a resident of Peoria, was commissioned to create a public artwork that expressed the drama and raw emotions of slaves flight to north along with the generosity of Pettengills, close friends of Abraham Lincoln.
On this site stood the house of Moses and Lucy Pettengill..
Moses Pettengill [1802-1883]
Lucy Pettengill [1802-1864]
The house was noted as Peoria's station on the Underground Railway Network from 1840s to 1860s.
Fleeing slaves were given food and refuge in this home. The Pettengills helped the escaping slaves with their dangerous journey along the Illinois River on their way to Farmington, Lawn Ridge and Princeton.
The Pettengills assisted in founding
Illinois State Anti-Slavery Society [Oct 1837]
Peoria Anti-Slavery Society [Feb 1844]
Illinois State Female Anti-Slavery Society [May 1844]
Abraham Lincoln was their intimate friend, and came to the home many times to discuss political affairs with the ardent Whigs.
"In my own experience of about fifty years of opposition to intemperance, Secret Societies, and slavery, I have had the blessing of an approving conscience which is far more valuable than gold and silver."
- Moses Pettengill