Pembroke Township

“Hopkins Park is in Pembroke Township. Pembroke is one of the oldest black rural townships. It was founded by a runaway slave named Pap Tetter before the Emancipation Proclamation. Folk history tells us that he and his family of 18 children escaped from North Carolina around 1861. He originally acquired 42 acres of what is now called Old Hopkins Park, created a safe place for other runaway slaves and the Potawatomi who did not go to reservations.

Hopkins Park was a terminal for the underground railroad and became a secure space for ethnic diversity among the indigenous people and those who migrated there. In the northern migration, Pembroke came to be the largest black farming community north of the Mason Dixon Line. During World War II, these farmers answered the nation’s call for hemp. Pembroke was the 3rd largest hemp producer in the nation.

The name Pembroke has Welsh roots and means “aqueduct.” It was a key spot along a trading route that linked Fort Dearborn in Chicago to Vincennes, Indiana.

Pembroke was known as a favored gaming area due to the abundance of wildlife. It is said that celebrities including presidents would frequent the area to hunt.”

https://www.blackoakscenter.org/our-story