Priscilla Baltimore
Courtesy of the Illinois State Archeological Survey

For more than 150 years, people have told the tale of  "Mother" Priscilla Baltimore, a former slave who is said to have led 11 families of fugitive and free African Americans to establish a free community in what is now Brooklyn, Ill.

In September, members of the the Illinois State Archeological Survey set out see if they could find evidence to back up the story.

Nora Ibrahim

On the 159th anniversary of Mary Meachum's attempted crossing of the Mississippi River — from what was at the time the slave state of Missouri to the free state Illinois — St. Louis residents, local groups and officials gathered at the crossing site to announce plans for a permanent monument. For many of those who attended, it marks 15 years of hard work to get the site more widely recognized.