Tag Archives: emancipation

German Abolitionists

On January 1, 1863, President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation came into effect, freeing slaves in all Confederate-held territory. But Lincoln’s decree did not extend to Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Maryland, all of which were slave states that had remained loyal to the Union.

In 1864 some of the Missouri Germans backed an attempt to challenge Lincoln from the Left by nominating a Radical anti-slavery man for president. When Lincoln outflanked them by endorsing the 13th Amendment ending slavery, the Germans returned to the Republican fold and put their energies into revising the Missouri constitution to abolish slavery in their state

Legal freedom for all African Americans slaves in Missouri came by action of a state convention meeting in the Mercantile Library Hall in St. Louis. The convention convened slavessoldierson January 6, 1865 with German immigrant and abolitionist Judge Arnold Krekel serving as president. Radical Republicans, many of whom were also German-Americans, comprised two-thirds of the convention seats. A vote on the “emancipation ordinance” passed overwhelmingly 60 to 4 on January 11, 1865, with no compensation to slave owners. A month later the convention adopted the 13th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which abolished slavery throughout the country.

Eight of the sixty-six delegates to the Missouri Constitutional Convention were born in Germany. One of the immigrants, Arnold Krekel, was elected Convention President. thWhile nearly all native-born Republicans believed that Missouri’s blacks should be freed, the status of blacks in freedom was contentious. Many thought that blacks, if they were free, should not be given the right to vote. Even among whites, women and young people under the age of 21 were not allowed to vote. One could be both a citizen and be deprived of the privilege of voting in 19th Century America.

The St. Louis Community College’s program THE GERMAN ABOLITIONISTS AND THE CIVIL WAR explores the relationships between the Germans and the enslaved community that they worked to emancipate. The program will be at the Missouri History Museum, on Tuesday, October 16, 2018 at 10:30 am in the Lee Auditorium will have speaker Dorris Keeven-Franke, Executive Director of Missouri Germans Consortium. The program is free as always and open to the public.

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Germans and Emancipation

Arnold Krekel, was born in Germany in 1815, served as President of Missouri’s Constitutional Convention when slavery was abolished on January 11, 1865. He emigrated with his family to Dutzow, Missouri in November of 1832. The young man moved to searchSt. Charles and attended the  St. Charles College where he studied law. He worked as a surveyor and became a Justice of the Peace as well. In 1844 he graduated the bar and opened his law office. Krekel became the St. Charles County and city attorney from 1846 to 1850. He was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in 1852. Krekel was editor of the St. Charles German newspaper, Der Demokrat from 1850 until 1864, and when the Civil War began, Krekel served in the Union Army, as Colonel of a regiment of Missouri volunteers.

Old St. Charles College - 1886
Old St. Charles College 3rd & Jefferson ca 1886 In 1860, Arnold Krekel, took St. Charles College to be used as a hospital. The basement was a prison with military guards.

When the Civil War began, Missouri’s plans for gradual emancipation infuriated the Radical Republicans, who wanted slavery abolished immediately. They took their grievances to Lincoln, who refused to take sides in Missouri’s politics, which infuriated them even more. Provisional Governor Gamble offered to resign, but the First Constitutional Convention would not accept it. Gamble died in office on 31 January 1864. Missouri’s radicals arranged for elections and for a new Constitutional Convention in November 1864, where they elected Thomas C. Fletcher Missouri governor.

Constitutional Convention of 1865

Arnold Krekel, a Democrat, was elected President of the new Constitutional Convention that met in the Mercantile Library in St. Louis on January 6, 1865. On January 11, 1865 the convention, by a 60 to 4 vote, abolished slavery in the state with no compensation for slave owners. A month later the convention also adopted the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution to abolish slavery throughout the U.S..

On March 6, 1865, Krekel was nominated by President Lincoln to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, and confirmed on March 9, 1865. Krekel later taught law at the University of Missouri Law School in Columbia from 1872 to 1875, and continued to as a Judge for the Court until his retirement on June 9, 1888.

Opening next month – German Immigrant Abolitionists: Fighting for a Free Missouri 

abolutionist

From February 12 to May 15, 2016 at Saint Louis University, Center for Global Citizenship, in Seminar Room 124, an exhibit “German Immigrant Abolitionists: Fighting for a Free Missouri” will be open. On February 12, 2016 there will be an opening reception with  Dr. Sydney Norton who will give a Curator’s talk at  4 pm. Public viewing at other times is by appointment only.  Call 314-977-9326 or email: michaelk@slu.edu  for more information. You may also visit  http://www.slu.edu/department-of-languages-literatures-and-cultures/news-and-events/german-abolitionist-exhibition where more information can be found.

 

EmancipationProc