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This historical marker on the corner of East Genesee and Pine Streets reveals that this was once a significant part of the Underground Railroad. The site, now the location of Walgreens, was once the home of Reverend Jermain Loguen, a teacher and minister who was also one of the most active abolitionists and conductors on the Underground Railroad in the region. Like most of the individuals who actively assisted enslaved persons in their quest for freedom, Loguen was African American. A former slave himself, Loguen was outspoken in his involvement, even advertising his home as a sanctuary for fugitive slaves despite the risks involved. Jermain and his wife Caroline Storum lived here and had six children. One of these children, Helen Amelia Loguen, married Lewis Douglass, the son of Frederick Douglass. Loguen’s home was not preserved, but a historic marker identifies the site.

Rev. Jermain Loguen was a leader within the Underground Railroad

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The marker identifying the site of Loguen's home. It is now outside a Walgreen's pharmacy.

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Jermain Wesley Loguen was born in 1813 in Tennessee, the son of the white man who enslaved him as well as his mother who was known as Cherry. When his owner faced financial difficulties, he arranged to sell Cherry and the three children that he had with Cherry to his brother, a planter in Alabama. Loguen’s second owner was a brutal taskmaster, beating Jermain and selling his two siblings to a slave trader.

In 1834, Loguen stole his owner’s horse and fled northward to Canada, where he farmed for a few years before moving south to Rochester, New York. There, he worked as a waiter in a hotel and attended an abolitionist school in Whitesboro. During this time, he met and married Caroline Storum, and the couple had six children. One of his children, Helen Amelia, would later marry Lewis Douglass, the son of Frederick Douglass.

In 1841, the Loguens moved to Syracuse, where Jermain worked as a teacher and a minister for the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. He also became an outspoken abolitionist and a chief agent of the Underground Railroad in Syracuse. Loguen advertised himself as a stationmaster on the Underground Railroad in Syracuse newspapers, offering his home as a safe space for those escaping slavery. Loguen also reportedly had business cards printed for himself offering his assistance to runaway slaves. Loguen, like many abolitionists, was openly and harshly critical of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act, which made it a crime to assist runaway slaves.

At some point, the Loguens had an apartment for fugitives added to their property. In the obituary of one of the Loguen daughters, the apartment was described as having numerous bunks and other equipment necessary to aid runaway slaves. The family is believed to have helped more than 1,500 freedom seekers escape slavery, earning Loguen the moniker, the “Underground Railroad King.”

Rev. Jermai and Mrs. Caroline Loguen , Historical Marker Database. Accessed February 21st 2022.

McAndrew, Mike . Fugitives Found Help at the Loguens' House at Pine and Genesee , February 7th 2005. Accessed February 21st 2022.

Bolt, Chris . Syracuse Street Corner Should be Monument to Prominent Abolitionist & Underground Railroad History , WAER. February 22nd 2017. Accessed February 21st 2022.

Jermain Wesley Loguen, National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum. Accessed February 21st 2022.