3 Day St. Louis Black History Group Tour

Day One

Old Courthouse
Visit the site of Dred Scott’s historic slavery trial, considered one of the flashpoints for the start of the Civil War. Groups can participate in a reenactment of the infamous trial held in one of the restored courtrooms.

Museum of Westward Expansion
Located beneath the Arch, this history museum has a display on the Buffalo Soldiers and other black pioneers who conquered the western plains. After visiting the museum, take a tram ride to the top of the Arch for a view 630 feet high above the mighty Mississippi River.

The Mary Meachum Freedom Crossing
Named after a free African-American St. Louisan who helped slaves flee to freedom, this is the first Missouri site on the National Park Service’s National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom.

Griot Museum of Black History and Culture
View amazing likenesses of African-American leaders, scholars and entertainers with strong roots in Missouri. Exhibits tell the stories of botanist George Washington Carver and the Rev. John Berry Meachum, among others. See a replica of a ship which brought African slaves to America, the remains of an authentic slave cabin from rural Missouri, displays depicting the lives of African Americans during and after the Civil War, and an exhibit on Dr. Martin Luther King.

Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery
At the fourth-largest cemetery in the country, visitors can pay their respects at the burial site of 1,068 members of the 56th U.S. Colored Infantry, which was organized in St. Louis in 1863 during the Civil War.

Day Two

 

Scott Joplin House
Tour the home of Scott Joplin, the “King of Ragtime.” His original compositions are displayed, along with an exhibit on the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair in Forest Park. It was during the fair that Joplin premiered his new-style music to the world.

Missouri History Museum
The Missouri History Museum features several exhibits documenting the lives and contributions of black St. Louisans. Of note are a stylized re-creation of the home of Jeannette Forchet, a free black woman who was one of the first landowners in St. Louis; exhibits about Dred Scott and his freedom trial; plus iconic representations of cultural contributions to modern society by artists such as Katherine Dunham, Miles Davis and others.

St. Louis Walk of Fame
More than 100 bronze stars and informational plaques are embedded in the sidewalk along Delmar Boulevard in the Loop neighborhood, with each honoring a famous St. Louisan such as Josephine Baker, Miles Davis, Tina Turner, Nelly, Redd Foxx and more. Named for an old streetcar turnaround, The Loop is a diverse neighborhood known for its eclectic stores and variety of ethnic restaurants and cafés.

Calvary & Bellefontaine Cemeteries
Visit the gravesites of Dred Scott and Madame Pelagie Rutgers, an African-American woman who grew to become one of St. Louis’ wealthiest land-holders in the mid-18th century. Bellefontaine Cemetery houses the grave sites of two prominent ministers: the Reverend John Richard Anderson, a witness to the 1837 murder of the Reverend Elijah P. Lovejoy, an abolitionist newspaper publisher; and Reverend John Berry Meachum, founder of the First African Baptist Church and a “freedom school” on the Mississippi River.

The Ville
This is St. Louis’ most historically significant African-American neighborhood, home to Sumner High School, the first school west of the Mississippi to provide secondary education for African-American students; the former Homer G. Phillips Hospital, which was one of the first medical institutions in the country to train African-American physicians; and the Annie Malone Children’s Home, founded by one of the first African-American millionaires.

Day Three

Katherine Dunham Museum
Includes a personal collection of artifacts from around the world and memorabilia from Dunham’s dance and activist eras. The museum is located in the former home of the world-renowned performer, choreographer, teacher and East St. Louis native.

The Vaughn Cultural Center
This center sponsors events and activities that promote an understanding of African-American history and culture. Permanent and traveling art and historical exhibits are on view in the Center’s galleries, and works by Missouri African-American artists are on display at the nearby Portfolio Gallery and Educational Center.

St. Peter’s Cemetery
Baseball fans can visit the gravesite of Negro League star “Cool Papa” Bell at St. Peter’s Cemetery.