Dedicated in 2009 by the Historical Association of Lewiston, the Freedom Crossing Monument commemorates the point where African Americans fleeing their enslavement in America reached the banks of the Niagra River. The monument shows a family boarding a rowboat with the help of local residents and reflects the symbolism of the Niagara as the final boundary between the long journey from the South and freedom from slavery in Canada. This bronze statue was made possible by private foundations and donations and commemorates African Americans to risked death and punishment to start a new life of freedom in Canada and the many white and black Americans who helped others escape bondage.
The monument is named after a book called Freedom Crossing by Margaret Goff Clark that introduced many Americans to the story of the Underground Railroad when it was published in 1969. The story depicts a Lewiston’s “stationmaster” Josiah Tyron who secretly escorted fugitive slaves across the Niagara River in his rowboat. Tyson is represented in the statue as the man handing a baby to a fugitive mother. Laura Eastman is a fictional character from the book and she is represented as the teenage girl pointing across the river towards Canada. The monument honor to the slaves who escaped from bondage as well as the citizens of Lewiston that helped smuggle thousands of people across the international border.