St. Louis, MO
Begin + End Point: Kaufman Park / Poelker Park
Board the Trolley's via Chestnut between 13th and Tucker.
11:30am - 12:30am - Youth Focused Tour
2:00pm - 3:00pm - General Admission
St. Louis Old Courthouse Steps
Audience participation: Has anybody heard of the Dred and Harriet Scott?
Dred Scott was born into slavery in 1799, in the state of Virginia.
He moved to St. Louis, in 1820 when The US Congress admitted Missouri into the Union as a slave state, opening it to a large migration of white people and their slaves westward from the southern slave states.
While in St. Louis, he was sold to a military surgeon who was stationed at Jefferson Barracks, but would travel throughout the Midwest on assignments, taking Dred Scott with him.
On an assignment in what would later become Minnesota, Dred met and married Harriet Robinson who was also a slave. They would have 2 children and later move back to St. Louis with his owner.
In 1843, the Scott’s owner, Dr. Emerson died and they became the Scott’s became property of his owner’s widow.
In 1846, Dred and Harriet Scott appealed to the courts in an attempt to gain their freedom on the grounds that for roughly 12 years, they were residents of Free States. Illinois, The Wisconsin Territory, and Fort Snelling (Minnesota).
*The landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision Dred Scott v. Sandford
Over a span of ten years, the case moved throughout various courts before finally appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court where it was decided that because Dred and Harriet Scott were slaves and therefore not U.S. Citizens, that they had no right to sue for their freedom in federal court.
They were ordered to remain slaves and returned to owner.
The widow who owned the Scott’s remarried in 1857 to a man who opposed slavery. They were returned to Dred Scotts original owners and one year later, were granted their freedom. Dred Scott died one year later, in 1858.
The 1857 decision that Black people could not be citizens and have no constitutional rights was overturned 11 years later by the adoption of the 14th Amendment which made all persons born or naturalized in the United States citizens.
On October 10, 1963, on the corner of Jefferson Ave. and Washington Boulevard Protesters demonstrate against job discrimination at Jefferson Bank and Trust Co. That day's demonstration by physicians and business professionals was peaceful and brief, lasting about 40 minutes. The protests at Jefferson Bank persuaded many companies to hire and promote more African Americans.
Pruitt-Igoe Housing Projects
Wendell O. Pruitt Homes and William Igoe Apartments, known together as the Pruitt–Igoe Housing Projects:
On this 57-acre site sat one of the largest housing developments in the country. 33 eleven-story high-rises that housed 2,870 units saw its first residents in 1954. These projects were constructed with federal funds as part of the Urban Renewal program. They were initially designed to be segregated, but a Supreme court ruling forced it to be integrated upon its opening. It quickly become almost exclusively occupied by African Americans. It didn’t take long for these buildings to fail. Deterioration began quickly. Poor maintenance resulted in rapid deterioration. One example, plumbing became inoperable and pipes began to burst in winter months. Low occupancy and elevated crime were also factors. All 33 buildings were demolished by 1976.
A little backstory: Partially named for Captain Wendell Oliver Pruitt, a member of the 1st Black Flying Unit, the Tuskegee Airmen.
Born in 1920, he was the youngest of 10 and a native of The Ville. He attended Sumner High School and attended what is now Harris-Stowe State University before transferring to Lincoln University in Jefferson City, known then as the Black Harvard of the Midwest where he was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and studied Civil Pilot’s Training which would later propel him into his career.
With only a month and a half left in his degree, he enlisted into the war effort and became regarded as one of the most fierce, well respected pilots of the storied “Red Tails”.
December 12th is Wendell Oliver Pruitt Day in St. Louis.
The Griot - Museum of Black History:
The Griot – Museum of Black History:
From the website – The Griot is the first cultural institution in St. Louis that is solely dedicated to revealing the broad scope of Black History and culture. Only the second of its kind in the country, The Griot Museum of Black History opened as The Black World History Wax Museum in February of 1997.
“Griot” is a West African historian, storyteller, poet, musician, or praise singer who serves as a repository of oral tradition and is often seen as a leader because of their position as an advisor.
In 2009, the museum changed its name and rebranded as The Griot, to better reflect the intention of its mission… to collect, preserve, interpret, and share the stories, culture, and history of Black people – particularly highlighting their regional connection to American history.
History Lesson Curated x
Jam Master Will of Ceremonies
Boys & Girls Club
Herbert Hoover Boys & Girls Club
Before the there was a Boys & Girls club on this site, this was the home of both the St. Louis Cardinals Baseball Team and St. Louis Browns Baseball Team. It was called Sportsman’s Park and was also the site of the 1944 World Series in which both St. Louis teams faced off.
When the St. Louis Cardinals moved to its new home downtown (Busch Stadium) in 1966, August Busch Jr. and Anheuser-Busch donated the property for use as a boys club. Several key area business leaders raised the capital necessary to build the first facility and named it the Herbert Hoover Boys Club. Named in honor of the 31st President of the United States. Many notable/Hall of Fame baseball players played on that field.
*On May 21, 1947, Jackie Robinson played his first game in St. Louis. He was the first baseman for the Brooklyn Dodgers. The Dodgers won that day by a score of 4-3 in 10 innings.
Fairground Park opened to the public as municipal park in 1908.
It was originally a privately owned facility, used by the St. Louis Agricultural and Mechanical Association for the St. Louis Exposition from 1856 through 1902.
During the Civil War it’s original use pivoted, and the Fairgrounds were used as a Union encampment known as Benton Barracks. Established as a United States training facility for soldiers and medical staff.
It later returned to more festive uses during the 1904 World’s Fai. It was the site of the largest amphitheater in the country.
In 1949, it was also the site of one of the city’s most violent riots.
37 years after the 1912 dedication as a public park and pool, on June 21st, opening day for the city’s pools, about thirty African American children entered the pool alongside white children and swam without incident.
However, as the day progressed swarms of white hecklers began to gather around the pool’s fence shouting threats at African American swimmers. A mob of several hundred angry whites resulted in such violence that it took 400 police officers 12 hours to restore order.
Washington Tabernacle Baptist Church – City Landmark #117
Constructed between 1876 and 1879. For the Washington and Compton Avenue Presbyterian Church. It was later sold in 1926 by Washington Tabernacle Baptist Church.
It was the chosen site of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s appearance in St. Louis when he was invited to speak at a civil rights rally on May 28, 1963, immediately prior to the March on Washington in our nation’s capital.
Harris-Stowe State University
The Illustrious Harris-Stowe State University
Harris-Stowe State University finds its orgins in 1857 when it was established by the St. Louis Public Schools and became the first public teacher education institution west of the Mississippi River.
Harris Teachers College was founded first as a normal school for white students only. It was named in honor of William Torrey Harris, Superintendent of Instruction in the St. Louis Public Schools and also a United States Commissioner of Education.
Stowe Teachers College, began in 1890 as a normal school for future Black teachers of elementary schools in St. Louis. Also founded by St. Louis Public Schools, it was an extension of Sumner High School. Named in honor of abolitionist and novelist Harriet Beecher Stowe.
Harris-Stowe State University’s new President is also it’s first woman President, Dr. LaTonia Collins Smith, the 21st President
Stars Park, on the corner of Compton Ave. and Market St. served as home of the St. Louis Stars, Negro League Baseball Team from 1922 through 1931. Three National Baseball Hall of Famers, including James “Cool Papa” Bell, Willie “El Diablo” Wells, and George “Mule” Suttles, called Stars Park their home field. Negro League championships were played at Stars Park in 1924, 1928, 1930 and 1931, with the home team winning three out of the four. The field is located on the southwest corner of the Harris-Stowe campus.