Anti-Slavery | St. Louis Public Radio

Anti-Slavery

Dorris Keeven-Franke leads several of Archer Alexander's descendants through a tour of Alexander's life. They're standing here at the Pitman family cemetery. The Pitmans were one of Alexander's owners.
Chad Davis | St. Louis Public Radio

For the past 30 years, Keith Winstead has been tracing the many generations of his family history.

“When I first started genealogy, I thought I’d be lucky to go and find a third great-grandparent. I got pictures now of 10 generations,” Winstead said.

On a cold and windy day he was at Bellefontaine Cemetery with about 15 other family members who hail from different parts of the U.S., such as Louisville, Atlanta, New York and Cincinnati.

Arnold Krekel founded a German language newspaper and helped other abolitionists establish Lincoln University.
Missouri Historical Society Collections

It’s the early to mid 1800s in Missouri. The state’s German population is seeing an increase, especially in the cities of St. Louis and Hermann. Many are traveling to the U.S. to seek a better life, free of injustice from German rulers. Amongst those immigrants is Arnold Krekel.

Krekel’s story is not known to most St. Louisans.  He arrived in America at 17 years old and eventually became a federal judge. He was also one of many from his region to fight for the abolition of slavery in Missouri.