First Racially Integrated School In Michigan Started In 1837 By Laura Haviland
We know how the Civil Rights Movement was a huge step forward to the idea of there being equality in the country, but right here in Michigan, more than 100 years before the movement there was a woman who was taking a stand for it. Laura Smith Haviland was described as a Quaker, pacifist, abolitionist, feminist, and suffragist, and did more than her fair share to fight for equality back during the Antebellum era as the Marginal Mennonite Society recalls:
In 1832, after moving to Michigan Territory from western New York, Laura helped organize the Logan Female Anti-Slavery Society, the first anti-slavery organization in Michigan. In 1837, she and her husband Charles founded the Raisin Institute, the first racially integrated school in Michigan. The Haviland farm became Michigan's first Underground Railroad station where Laura personally escorted escaped slaves into Canada. She also made trips into the deep South and attempted to liberate the children of fugitive slaves, while a bounty of $3,000 was placed on her
head, dead or alive, by a Tennessee slave-owner.
This spark to fight for abolishing slavery was sparked after her parents, husband, and daughter died of erysipelas. After that point, there was nowhere she went where she wasn't in danger, but still continued to fight for equality.
Her efforts were so courageous that the town of Haviland, Kansas was named in her honor mainly for all of the slaves and refugees she helped free from the area. Both Laura and her husband Charles are buried in Adrian, MI where there is a statue erected in her memory along with her story and accomplishments.
This lady was clearly the most badass person to ever come from Adrian.