Today, Knox College utilizes the old Knox County Jail as the home of the Underground Railroad Freedom Station and Owen W. Muelder serves as the director. This museum has many exhibits and information on the history of the Underground Railroad and is available for tours. (Contact the Galesburg Area Convention & Visitors Bureau for more information.)
Two area churches founded by African Americans in the 1800’s are viable congregations today. The Second Baptist Church was organized in 1865 with their building completed in 1867. This structure is still in used today by the congregation and is located next to the old Knox County Jail. The other, Allen Chapel AME (African Methodist Episcopal) was organized in 1853 and named after the first African America Bishop, Richard Allen. The church is still at 153 E. Tompkins Street, a block and half north of the old Knox County Jail.
In 1863 only 90 African American men, women and children lived in Knox County. Of that group, 12 men led by Joseph Barquet joined the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. The soldiers’ heroic efforts were written about in, A Brave Black Regiment. Their efforts were also documented in the 1989 movie Glory, starring Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington and Morgan Freeman. Several of these men are buried in the historic Hope Cemetery in Galesburg.