Slavery

Editorial Room of the Westliche Post newspaper. Carl Schurz is seated lower left next to the table, c. 1868.
Missouri History Museum

Why would anyone invite thousands of 19th-century German immigrants to join us in the middle of February, the month dedicated to American black history?

Isn’t the idea of formalizing a black history month a way to shift emphasis away from Americans of European descent, the better to shine the light of achievement on African Americans’ stories? 

U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Kansas City, tied the 13th amendment celebration to his boyhood observances of Juneteenth with his grandfathers.
Jim Howard | St. Louis Public Radio

In 1865, President Abraham Lincoln saw his home state of Illinois become the first to ratify the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, banning slavery. He’d also live to see the end of the Civil War, in which he had declared slaves in Southern states, free under the Emancipation Proclamation, issued two years earlier, but he wouldn’t live to see the amendment itself become law, upon the vote of Georgia state lawmakers on Dec. 9, 1865.

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.