Office of Alumni Engagement

The Road to Reunion

Bicycling the Underground Railroad from New Orleans to Oberlin
April 22 to June 2, 2022


The Oberlin Heritage Center and Wilson Bruce Evans House are community 501(c)3 organizations that seek to preserve and share Oberlin’s unique heritage. Contributions to these organizations can be made by clicking on their links above.

Resources: An Oberlin History Reading List:
Race and Equity
(Per the Oberlin Heritage Center)

Elusive Utopia: The Struggle for Racial Equity in Oberlin, Ohio. By Gary Kornblith and Carol Lasser

  • Drawing from newspapers, pamphlets, organizational records, memoirs, census materials and tax lists, Elusive Utopia traces the rise and fall of Oberlin's idealistic vision and commitment to racial equality from the 1830s to the 1920s.

John Mercer Langston and the Fight for Black Freedom 1829-65. By William Cheek and Aimee Lee Cheek

  • This detailed biography is about John Mercer Langston, who graduated from Oberlin College (B.A. 1849, M.A. theology 1853) and who became Ohio’s first Black attorney and one of the first Black men elected to public office in the United States.

The Town That Started The Civil War. By Nat Brandt

  • Brandt’s narrative introduces the people, politics, and events that led Oberlin to become an anti-slavery stronghold and provides a detailed account of the rescue of freedom seeker John Price in 1858 that came to be known as the Oberlin-Wellington Rescue.

They Stopped in Oberlin. By William Bigglestone

  • This collection of biographies of Black residents and visitors to Oberlin in the nineteenth century was compiled by former Oberlin College Archivist William Bigglestone.

Constructing Black Education at Oberlin College. By Roland Baumann

  • This book by former Oberlin College Archivist Roland Baumann centers on historical documents that allow a deeper look into the college’s decision to educate students “irrespective of color” and how policies and social realities intertwined.

Oberlin, Hotbed of Abolitionism: College, Community, and the Fight for Freedom and Equality in Antebellum America. By J. Brent Morris

  • Morris shifts antislavery scholarship from the East and demonstrates that the West's influence, including Oberlin’s, was largely responsible for a continuous infusion of radicalism that helped the movement stay true to its most progressive principles.

Five for Freedom: The African American Soldiers in John Brown’s Army. By Eugene L. Meyer

  • Five for Freedom is the story of five brave men, including two from Oberlin, the circumstances in which they were born and raised, how they came together at this fateful time and place, and the legacies they left behind.

The 'Colored Hero" of Harpers Ferry: John Anthony Copeland and the War Against Slavery. By Steven Lubet

  • This biography focuses on John Anthony Copeland, whose family had moved from North Carolina to Oberlin in 1843, and his abolitionist sentiments and actions that led to his participation in the raid on Harpers Ferry and subsequent execution.

Oberlin History: Essays and Impressions. By Geoffrey Blodgett

  • Geoffrey Blodgett, late Professor of History at Oberlin College, published this collection of essays linking historic events at the college to larger contemporary issues, spanning from the 1830s to the 1990s.

Copies of these books may be found at your local library, Ben Franklin/Mindfair Books, or the Oberlin Heritage Center. You may want to call ahead for availability.