This web environment is a growing resource for material related to the movement of freedom seekers and the networks of the Underground Railroad in Illinois.  My particular work focuses on northeastern Illinois and the greater Chicago region and on documenting accounts of the movement of freedom seekers through Illinois. 

 Brief biography of Dr. Larry A. McClellan
                                                                         Contact at   > <

After graduate work at the University of Chicago, in 1970 Larry helped create Governors State University and served 28 years as University Professor of Sociology and Community Studies.  In the mid-70s, he was mayor of University Park (then Park Forest South); 1996 -2001, Executive Director of the South Metropolitan Regional Leadership Center at GSU; then four years as a senior consultant with the Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission.  Throughout his career, he also served as pastor with diverse congregations.  He was selected by the Illinois Humanities Council for 2013-14 as an Illinois “Roads Scholar” lecturer on the history of Illinois highways.

 His consulting, research and writing focus on historic highways, the Underground Railroad in Illinois, and on African American and regional history south of Chicago.  Major publications include 25 articles in the Encyclopedia of Chicago [2005]; The Pontiac Trail, Route 66 and the Early Chicago to St. Louis Roads  [2013]; co-author of a chapter on freedom seeker, Caroline Quarlls, in A Fluid Frontier: Slavery, Freedom and the Underground Railroad on the Detroit River Borderland [2015]. Since 2006, he has presented 3 research papers on the Underground Railroad at the annual symposium of the Illinois State Historical Society.  For Illinois Heritage magazine, March-April, 2013, “Road Tripping, One Hundred Years of Named Highways in Illinois;” Winter, 1998, co-author of “The Final Ministry of Amanda Berry Smith.” 

For the annual National Park Service Network to Freedom conference, 2010 “Freedom Seekers in Illinois;” 2014 “Women in Chicago working with the Underground Railroad.”  For the Will County Historical Society Quarterly, 2011 “Freedom Seekers and the Underground Railroad in Will County;” 2013  “One Hundred Years of Named Highways in Will county.”  Some of his work will be found at ><.   He serves on the boards of the Will County Historical Society and the Union Street Gallery in Chicago Heights.

He is currently completing book manuscripts on “To the River, the Remarkable Journey of Caroline Quarlls” [freedom seeker from St. Louis], “Freedom Seekers and the Underground Railroad in Northeastern Illinois,” and on regional history south of Chicago.  For ten years, he wrote a monthly regional history column for The Southtown/Star newspapers.   Larry graduated from Occidental College in Los Angeles, with a year at the University of Ghana in West Africa.  He has done continuing education and research in Great Britain and Jerusalem.