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Jackson historian aims to highlight ‘underrepresented’ stories

jcmhs marker.jpg
Jackson County Michigan Historical Society
Jackson, Michigan was a key stop on the Underground Railroad, which helped escaped slaves reach Canada during the Civil War era.

The city of Jackson now officially has its own historian.

Linda Hass wants to find new ways to make the events of yesterday relevant to the lives of today.

Hass is an author and a member of the Jackson County Michigan Historical Society.

She’s best known for her extensive research on the city of Jackson’s role as a stop on the Underground Railroad.

In her honorary position, Hass will help organize educational and ceremonial events that interpret the past.

She says her passion is balancing what she calls “underrepresented” history with what’s already known.

“I’d like to bring that to the table,” Hass said. “Explore that, maybe celebrate that. It doesn’t have to be at the sacrifice of known history. I think we can do both.”

Hass says understanding the past can help communities like Jackson shape their futures.

“Anytime that I’m involved in say, unveiling a historical marker or giving a presentation, one of my missions is to show how history is relevant,” she said. “And I think that can snowball in ways that do impact us in the present.”

In April, the city will unveil a historical marker commemorating the location of Camp Jackson, a regimental training ground where about 2,000 Union soldiers drilled during the Civil War.

Jackson is also known as the birthplace of the Republican Party, a title that’s disputed by the city of Ripon, Wisconsin.

Hass says the party was conceptualized in Wisconsin, but actual candidates were nominated in Michigan.

Kevin Lavery is a general assignment reporter and occasional local host for Morning Edition and All Things considered.
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