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Enslavement in St. Louis and Missouri

Journal and Newspaper Databases


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Scholarly, multi-disciplinary database containing full text for more than 4,650 publications, including more than 3,600 peer-reviewed publications. The database offers indexing & abstracts for all 8,183 journals in the collection.

African American Newspapers: The 19th Century

The complete text of the major African-American newspapers published in the United States during the 19th century. Contains a wealth of information about cultural life and history during the 1800s. First-hand reports of the major events and issues of the day, including the Mexican War, Presidential and Congressional addresses, business and commodity markets, the humanities, world travel and religion. The collection also provides a great number of early biographies, vital statistics, essays and editorials, poetry and prose, and advertisements all of which embody the African-American experience. Dates covered: 1827 - 1882.

America, History and Life 

Covers the history and culture of the United States and Canada, from prehistory to the present. The database indexes 1,700 journals from 1964 to present and also includes citations and links to book  and media reviews.

Freedom on the Move: Rediscovering the Stories of Self-liberating People: a Database of Fugitives from American Slavery

With the advent of newspapers in the American colonies, enslavers posted "runaway ads" to try to locate fugitives. Additionally, jailers posted ads describing people they had apprehended in search of the enslavers who claimed the fugitives as property. Created to control the movement of enslaved people, the ads ultimately preserved the details of individual lives--their personality, appearance, and life story. Taken collectively, the ads constitute a detailed, concise, and rare source of information about the experiences of enslaved people.


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The Memory of Slavery at Saint Louis University

By: Millett, Nathaniel.

Source: American Nineteenth Century History. Sep2015, Vol. 16 Issue 3, p329-350. 22p. Historical Period: 1761 to 2014.

Abstract: This essay examines both the history and memory of slavery at Saint Louis University (SLU). The essay argues that, despite the fact that slavery and slaves featured prominently in the university's early history, later members of the SLU and St. Louis community have forgotten or misremembered the role of human bondage in the school's past. This process of forgetting is particularly notable given the fact that SLU is a Jesuit University that plays a prominent role in the cultural, educational, and economic life of the city of St. Louis. The essay will analyze the process by which the role of slavery at SLU has been forgotten before concluding with suggestions for how the topic might be treated in the future. 


Law, Geography, and Mobility: Suing for Freedom in Antebellum St. Louis.

by  Kennington, Kelly Marie

Source: Journal of Southern History. Aug2014, Vol. 80 Issue 3, p575-604. 30p.

Historical Period: 1822 to 1861

Abstract: The article discusses the relation between the geography of St. Louis, Missouri and the legal cases of African American slaves who sued for their freedom. Topics include an 1824 Missouri law regarding slave petitions in courts, the location of St. Louis across the Mississippi River from the free state of Illinois, and the cases of slaves including Thornton Kinney, George Johnson, and a slave named Phillis whose last name is unknown.


Fleeing Missouri Bloodhounds: Pappy Carr's Escape to Free Kansas.

Edited by Mark Chapin Scott

Source: Kansas History. Summer 2014, Vol. 37 Issue 2, p66-77. 12p. Historical Period: 1859.

Abstract: The article focuses on the struggles faced by slave Charles Carr to free slavery in 20th century Kansas, Missouri. Topics mentioned include a brief biography of the life of Carr as a slave in Kentucky, his difficulties to recovery from bloodhound attacks, the role of the Fugitive Slave law in the arrest of Carr and the possibility of being sold. 


"The Black People Did the Work": African American Life in Arrow Rock, Missouri, 1850-1960

By: Kremer, Gary R.

Source: Missouri Historical Review. Jul2012, Vol. 106 Issue 4, p223-240. 18p. Historical Period: 1850 to 1960.

Abstract: The article examines the history of African Americans living in Arrow Rock, Missouri from the mid-19th century to the mid-20th century. The importance of slavery to the hemp-growing economy of Arrow Rock prior to the emancipation of slaves during the U.S. Civil War is detailed, along with racial violence in response to abolition. The author goes on to note African American population declines following the U.S. Civil War, African American employment in the domestic service sector, and segregated schooling. The mid-20th century process of racial integration in Arrow Rock is also explained. 


Saint Louis University Slaves.


Source: Missouri Historical Review. Apr2011, Vol. 105 Issue 3, p125-140. 16p. Historical Period: 1823 to 1930.

Abstract: The article discusses African American slaves held by Jesuits in Missouri in the nineteenth century. It comments on slavery at St. Regis Seminary in Florissant, Missouri and at Saint Louis College, later Saint Louis University, in St. Louis, Missouri. Catholic figures examined include Bishop William Valentine Dubourg, Jesuit Charles Van Quickenborne, and French nun Madame Philippine Duchesne. The author considers slaves' tasks, treatment, and living quarters. Catholic views on slavery are also explored. 



I'll Wade in Missouri Blood": 'Daggs v. Frazier:' A Case of Missouri Runaway Slaves.

By: Willoughby, Robert J.

Source: Missouri Historical Review. Jan2005, Vol. 99 Issue 2, p115-138. 24p. Historical Period: 1848 to 1850.

Abstract: Discusses 'Daggs' v. 'Frazier' (1850). In 1848 nine slaves escaped from the Missouri farm of Ruel Daggs to Iowa, where they were recaptured outside the town of Salem. Numerous Salem citizens, however, prevented the pursuers from taking the slaves back to Missouri and continued to hide the slaves from further attempts to recapture them. Daggs subsequently sued the leaders of the Salem antislavery group - such as Elihu Frazier and his brother Thomas Clarkson Frazier - in the federal district court in Iowa for damages from loss of property. After quick deliberation, the jury, bolstered by the instructions of Judge John Dyer, ruled in favor of Daggs and thereby upheld the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793. 




By: Buchanan, Thomas C.

Source: Journal of Social History. Summer2001, Vol. 34 Issue 4, p797. 20p. Historical Period: 1841.

Abstract: In 1841 four steamboat workers were hanged in St. Louis, Missouri, for committing robbery, arson, and murder. Three were free blacks, Amos Warrick, Charles Brown, and James Seward, and one was a slave, Madison Henderson. This article uses their confession narrative to examine how the Mississippi River steamboat culture impacted slave communities in the western region of the South. In the Mississippi River economy a multidimensional, rascal form of resistance flourished among African American steamboat workers. As slave and free black steamboat hands moved between land and river, between city and country, and between slave and free states, many transformed their identities by living outside the law. By appropriating commodities, helping slaves to escape bondage, and participating in informal economies, they created networks that expanded not only their own status but also the scope and power of the larger African American community. 


The Post-Abolitionist's Narrative: William Greenleaf Eliot's The Story of Archer Alexander.

By: Thomas, Joseph M.

Source: New England Quarterly. Sep2000, Vol. 73 Issue 3, p463. 19p. 1 Black and White Photograph. Historical Period: 1840 to 1889.

Abstract: Analyzes 'The Story of Archer Alexander' (1885), a self-serving account of Unitarian minister and author William Greenleaf Eliot's experiences as a "gradualist" abolitionist who gave refuge to a runaway slave in antebellum and Civil War St. Louis, Missouri. Written twenty years after the Civil War, Eliot's work employs the slave Alexander's brief narrative of his escape to freedom and his years working for Eliot to valorize Eliot's role in Missouri's abolition movement. Prior to the Civil War Eliot had not advocated emancipation in his homilies. Moreover, immediately after the implementation of Missouri's emancipation law of 1863, Eliot urged only measured and gradual steps in freeing the slaves. While the postwar slave narrative genre typically highlighted the triumphs and individual courage of former slaves, "Eliot's slave" unwittingly serves as a device for rehabilitating the reputation of his calculating master. 



By: Williams, Michael Patrick.

Foundations. 1978, Vol. 21 Issue 3, p225-241. 17p. Historical Period: 1818 to 1866.

Abstract: Focuses on the problems faced by the black clergy who were accused of accommodationism. Their vilification by their contemporaries was unjust. Studies two ministers placed in this class, John Berry Meachum of St. Louis (1789-1854) and Noah Davis of Baltimore (1804-66). 48 notes. 


Black and White on the Urban Frontier: The St. Louis Community in Transition, 1800–1830

By Maximilian Reichard 

Source: Bulletin of the Missouri Historical Society. 1976, Vol. 33 Issue 1, p3-17. 15p.

Historical Period:1800 to 1830

Abstract: Discusses restrictions on slaves in St. Louis, 1800-30, focusing on strictures imposed through state legislation and municipal ordinances. The legislation tended also to fetter the liberties of free Negroes living in St. Louis. Social and economic tensions during the 1820's resulted in the passage of more restrictive laws.



By: Hunter, Lloyd A.

Source: Bulletin of the Missouri Historical Society. 1974, Vol. 30 Issue 4, p233-265. 33p. Historical Period: 1804 to 1860.

Abstract: Analyzes economic and political-cultural forces that shaped the "slave system" in St. Louis. Relatively few slaves were held in St. Louis. Because the hiring out of slaves was common practice, little disruption of slave families occurred. Evils common to southern slavery did, however, prevail in St. Louis. 



By: Strickland, Arvarh.

Source: Missouri Historical Review. Jul1971, Vol. 65 Issue 4, p505-526. 22p. Historical Period: 1803 to 1829.

Abstract: Part of a special issue on Missouri's sesquicentennial, 1821-1971. Slavery may have been mild in Missouri, but it was just as destructive of the individual as the more extensive and repressive forms in the South.