Joan Southgate


Now in her 80s, you wouldn’t expect her to be at the forefront of social consciousness by staging protests of physical endurance, but that’s exactly what she’s doing.

Joan Southgate is an educator at heart. Her mission is to ensure that important parts of American history, such as the Underground Railroad, are taught to children and explained in a way that instills a sense of pride in the fight for equality for us all.

Her favorite organization is Restore Cleveland Hope. On May 30, 2009, Joan “completed the circle” by walking 250 miles from St. Catharines, Canada, back to Cleveland to raise money to restore a grand Civil War era home and establish an Underground Railroad Education and Resource Center there.

She describes why the past is defining her present and future.