Activists want repairs made to damaged Gateway to Freedom monument in Detroit

There is uncertainty about whether monument was deliberately damaged

Gateway to Freedom monument in Detroit damaged
Gateway to Freedom monument in Detroit damaged

DETROIT – There’s concern over the condition of a Detroit monument commemorating a leader of the Underground Railroad.

The Gateway to Freedom monument has stood for 20 years in Hart Plaza along the riverwalk.

Here is a closer look at what is wrong and the effort to get some repairs moving.

Members of the Michigan Underground Railroad Exploratory Collective, a Detroit non-profit surveyed the damage of this monument at Hart Plaza.

The Gateway to Freedom Monument was erected decades ago, but anniversary celebrations were postponed after the damage was discovered.

It is uncertain whether the damage was done deliberately or caused naturally over time.

“Look at that, it is ridiculous. Look at it,” said Sharon Sexton, who wants the monument honoring the Underground Railroad repaired.

“It is literally falling through the cracks. There are cracks around the granite base and there are holes. It looks like someone has taken a sledge hammer or crowbar and started to destroy this monument.”

The sculptor Ed Dwight believes the monument was deliberately vandalized.

It’s not clear who is responsible for repairing and maintaining the monument. Some believe the City of Detroit is responsible for maintaining historical monuments.

But in a city that’s predominantly Black some activists have started a petition to help raise money to protect it.

For more information on how to sign the petition, email


About the Authors:

Priya joined WDIV-Local 4 in 2013 as a reporter and fill-in anchor. Education: B.A. in Communications/Post Grad in Advanced Journalism

Natasha Dado is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit.