Day was "an important leader of the black community, and he was linked to other important people who were in the abolitionist movement," Calarco said. "We know that for at least 26 years he attended these important meetings with people who were leaders of the movement. So one has to assume that, if not directly, he was indirectly involved in the underground, if not directly."
Mr. Calarco also shared a document showing that Day 1846 was on a list of African American people who received land grants in the Adirondack area of New York state from Gerrit Smith, a major Underground Railroad insurer.
Mr Calarco speculated that Day may have used his fortune to fund the operation of the subway, whose conductors were often pressured. "They needed the money," he said, "to pay for the food, to pay for the trip, to pay for the clothes, to pay for the people who helped transport refugees in boats and trains."
After the Civil War, when slavery was abolished, Day campaigned to secure the vote for all blacks in New York State. In 1866, The Standard reported, he was part of a group calling for a convention to remove the discriminatory provision in the state constitution that prohibited blacks from voting unless they owned $ 250 worth of property . "The steel war is over … but the war of ideas must continue until real democratic principles prevail in this country," wrote the group, repeating today's struggles for voter suppression.
In 1871, a year after the 15th amendment to the United States Constitution that ultimately prohibited the federal government and states from denying or curtailing the right to vote based on race or color, a massive anniversary parade of black citizens made its way off Up Washington Square, with a crowd of black and white New Yorkers lining the route. At a "big mass gathering" at the Cooper Union, The Times reported, Day was among the officials who passed a resolution declaring that the 15th Amendment could only improve the lot of black Americans if "the practice of the The ballot is supposed to be sent immediately, safely, and our right to exercise it is upheld by the civil authority. "