Fighting for a Free Missouri

Exhibit on the German Immigrant Abolitionists: Fighting for a Free Missouri at Center for Global Citizenship, Suite 124 – See directions below

Opening reception with curator’s talk by Dr. Sydney Norton, 4-6 p.m. on Friday, February 12, 2016.
Public Viewing February 12, 2016 – May 15, 2016 by Appointment: Call 314-977-9326 or email: michaelk@slu.edu 

Missouri is well-known for its German-American heritage, but the story of 19th-century German immigrant abolitionists is often neglected in discussions of the state’s history. German Immigrant Abolitionists: Fighting for a Free Missouri tells the story of what happened when idealistic German immigrants, many highly educated and devoted to the ideals of freedom and democracy, came to a pre-Civil War slave state. Fleeing political persecution during the 1830s and 1840s, German immigrants such as Friedrich Münch, Henry Boernstein, and Franz Sigel arrived in Missouri in hopes of finding a land more congenial to their democratic ideals. When they encountered slavery, many became abolitionists and supported the Union in the emerging Civil War.

German Immigrant Abolitionists: Fighting for a Free Missouri focuses on the political activism and writings of German immigrants in Missouri before and during the Civil War. Previous research on these intriguing figures has largely been confined to specialists. This exhibition contributes a compelling visual component not only for scholars but also for a wider general audience. Through a variety of photographs, historic objects, newspapers, diary entries, satirical cartoons and maps, this exhibition makes connections between the theoretical underpinnings of these activists’ ideals and the realities of their everyday lives.

Questions that this exhibition explores are: Who were the German abolitionists, and how did they contribute to the political landscape of pre-Civil War Missouri? Did German immigrants work closely with African-Americans in Missouri toward the common goal of ending slavery? How did the editors of and contributors to German-language newspapers in the St. Louis area change the course of the Civil War in Missouri, particularly in regards to recruiting German immigrant volunteer soldiers?

This exhibition is proudly supported by Saint Louis University’s Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, Center for International Studies, Center for Global Citizenship, and the Mellon Foundation. The Center for Global Citizenship (CGC) is located at 3672 West Pine Mall. The CGC includes occupant centers and offices housed in neighboring Des Peres Hall. Both buildings are easily recognizable by the array of international flags lining the rooftops. The nearest intersections to the CGC are Laclede Avenue and Grande Avenue and Laclede Avenue and South Spring Avenue.

Lecture: “From the Wacheputsch to the Missouri Putsch: German Radicals Invite Themselves to the American Civil War”
Dr. Steven Rowan, University of Missouri – St. Louis
5 – 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 31, 2016
Reception to follow.

Lecture: “A German Abolitionist Family – The Muench Family”
Dorris Keeven-Franke, Missouri Germans Consortium
Time TBD on Thursday, April 21, 2016
Reception to follow.

For more information see http://www.slu.edu/department-of-languages-literatures-and-cultures/news-and-events/german-abolitionist-exhibition

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One thought on “Fighting for a Free Missouri”

  1. Hi, Dorris,

    Fascinating! Wish I could be there. Will your lecture be available to those of us who cannot attend?

    Best regards,

    Dick

    On Thu, Feb 4, 2016 at 9:03 AM, Missouri Germans Consortium wrote:

    > Dorris Keeven-Franke posted: “Exhibit on the German Immigrant > Abolitionists: Fighting for a Free Missouri at Center for Global > Citizenship, Suite 124 – See directions below Opening reception with > curator’s talk by Dr. Sydney Norton, 4-6 p.m. on Friday, February 12, 2016. > Public Viewin” >

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