“Overcoming Obstacles to Create Community” is an initiative of the Women’s Voices’ Racial Justice Committee. Each month, we’ll provide timely, concrete ideas and suggestions you can include in your daily lives.
January – Educate Yourself!
- Learn something about Black history. Visit the Griot Museum of Black History at 2505 St. Louis Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63106. Hours (subject to change) are Wednesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
- Just down the street is the George B. Vashon Museum at 2223 St. Louis Ave. Don’t know who George Vashon was? There is a high school named after him. Learn about his life and work at the museum.
- Where does Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice stand on issues related to racial justice? You will learn a good deal by reading the Racial Justice Position Paper.
- Learn about the Black community in St. Louis. Read the St. Louis American, the city’s award winning Black newspaper. Free print copies of the St. Louis American can be found in 880 locations throughout the St. Louis area, and is available in almost every major grocery store, including Schnucks.
- Read at least one of the excellent books read by the Racial Justice Book Club. You can find a list of these books on the Racial Justice page of the Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice website. To learn more and share thoughts and ideas with others, attend a Racial Justice Book Club discussion.
- Learn here what Black Lives Matter is really about. Wikipedia also has good information about the group, its history, principles, strategies, etc.
- Visit the National Blues Museum. Since its origins in the Deep South long ago, the Blues has been a bedrock for virtually all American popular music and an integral part of the African American experience.
- Listen to We Live Here, a podcast produced by St. Louis Public Radio. We Live Here explores the issues of race, class and power that led to the eruption following Michael Brown’s shooting death in Ferguson.
- Watch the documentary 13th, an in-depth look at the prison system in the U.S. and how it reveals the nation’s history of racial inequality. Available through Netflix.
- Events celebrating the life and work of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. are held in January. Participate in the annual Freedom March or other observances at churches and schools throughout the area.
- Take a walk. Consider going to the Great Rivers Greenway Riverfront Trail, where you can begin by starting at the Mary Meachum Freedom Crossing. The site can be accessed from the Prairie Avenue trailhead of the St. Louis Riverfront Trail. The site is designated as part of the National Park Service Underground Railroad “Network to Freedom.” Visit Missouri says: “In the early morning hours of May 21, 1855, a small group of runaway slaves and their guides crossed the Mississippi River from St. Louis, attempting to reach a route to freedom through Illinois. Accompanying them was Mary Meachum, a free woman of color, the widow of a prominent Black clergyman.” The area is marked by a designation sign. A colorful wall mural by the students of Logos School interprets the Meachum event.
- Consider a visit to the Greenwood Cemetery, at 6571 Saint Louis Ave, Hilldale MO 63121. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the cemetery was organized in 1874 to serve the needs of the growing Black population of post-civil war St. Louis. More than 50,000 African Americans are buried within the 31.85 acres including Harriet Scott, the wife of Dred Scott. There is a memorial pavilion in her honor.
- Another cemetery worth a visit is the Father Dickson Cemetery at 845 South Sappington Road in Crestwood. On Sept. 4, 1903, the St. Louis County Advocate newspaper reported on the cemetery’s dedication ceremony, which took place on August 30. “The cemetery for colored people, located on the Sappington road, south of Oakland, was formally dedicated last Sunday [August 30, year?] to the memory of Father Moses Dickson by the Knights of Tabor and Daughters of the Tabernacle, of which he was the founder.” According to the article, more than 3,000 people attended the ceremony. A Wikipedia article says that Moses Dickson (1824-1901) was an abolitionist, solider, minister and founder of a secret organization called The Knights of Liberty, which planned slave uprisings and helped slaves to freedom through the Underground Railroad. He was a co-founder of Lincoln University.
A Candid Conversation with Brittany Packnett
June 13, 2019