Illinois Underground Railroad
Illinois Underground Railroad

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 Larry A. McClellan

3430 W Oakhill Dr

Crete, Illinois 60417


+1 708/769 1894 +1 708/769 1894


South of Chicago, Inc.

This  is  Larry  McClellan's  consulting  resource.      He  is  available  for research, education and public projects on the Underground Railroad, and on African American and regional history south of Chicago.  Thorn Creek Press is a business activity of South of Chicago, Inc.


Dr. Larry A. McClellan

After graduate work at the University of Chicago, in 1970 Larry helped create Governors State University and served with the University for 30 years, including six years as Executive Director of the South Metropolitan Regional Leadership Center.  He is now Emeritus Professor of Sociology and Community Studies.  In the mid-70s, he was mayor of University Park (then Park Forest South).  After retiring from GSU, he spent four years as a senior consultant with the Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission.  Throughout his career, he also served as pastor with diverse congregations. 

       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 [2016], and in 2019, The Underground Railroad South of Chicago," and “To the River, the Remarkable Journey of Caroline Quarlls” [freedom seeker from St. Louis],  Since 2006, he has presented 4 research papers on the Underground Railroad at annual meetings of the Illinois State Historical Society, and 3 for national conferences of the National Park Service Network to Freedom program. He was the principal researcher for successful applications for listings on the Network to Freedom national register of Underground Railroad sites for Crete, Lockport, and the Ton Farm site on the Little Calumet River.  Some of his work will be found at ><.   

       “Onward to Chicago:  Freedom Seekers and the Underground Railroad in Northeastern Illinois” was published by Southern Illinois University Press in 2023.  Lary is also working on manuscripts 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.  He has served on the boards of the Illinois State Historical Society, and the Will County Historical Society. 

      In 2022, the Illinois State HistoricalSociety presented him with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his work with Illinois history.  In 2023, Onward to Chicago received the 2023 Memorial Prize for the Advancement of Knowledge from the Underground Railroad Free Press.  They called the book:  "This is the finest book yet of which we are that takes a close-up look at the Underground Railroad as it actually happened."


Larry McClellan, 3430 W. Oak Hill Drive, Crete, IL 60417