SHSMO On Demand

African American Experience in Missouri

Explore Missouri's past and prepare for the future through the African American Experience in Missouri lecture series. A collaboration of the State Historical Society of Missouri's Center for Missouri Studies and the University of Missouri's Division of Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity, it is designed to offer the community opportunities to reach a new understanding of present-day Missouri by learning about the history of African Americans within the state. A selection of featured lectures is below or you can view all of them here.

Walter Johnson, a professor of African and African American Studies at Harvard University, uses Dred Scott's personal struggle for freedom and the controversial outcome of his US Supreme Court case as a lens to help illuminate the central role of St. Louis in the imperialist and racial capitalist history of the United States.

Martha S. Jones, Arthur F. Thurnau professor at the University of Michigan, shares the deeply powerful and unfortunately very tragic story of Celia, who was purchased by a local man in Callaway County and suffered tremendously for years before she eventually stood up for her basic human right to decide her own fate.

St. Louis native Miller W. Boyd III shares insights from his groundbreaking research into the African American experience in Missouri during the Civil War. In unraveling the traditional motives for service—fighting to destroy slavery in America, securing black citizenship, and preserving the Union—Boyd shows that personal freedom and a chance to financially provide for families were often stronger motivations to enlist.

In his path-breaking book Mapping Decline: St. Louis and the Fate of the American City, Colin Gordon combined GIS digital mapping techniques with extensive archival research to reach new perspectives on St. Louis’s decades-long struggles with depopulation, segregation, economic disparity, and urban decay. Gordon's current research continues to probe for deeper understanding of the underlying issues and failed policies behind urban crises such as the turmoil in Ferguson after Michael Brown was shot and killed by local police on August 9, 2014.

Gary R. Kremer explores the history of Lincoln University from its founding by former Missouri slaves in 1866 through its emergence as a state-funded normal and vocational school to its establishment as the state’s only public institution of higher education for African Americans in 1921. Special attention is given to Lincoln University’s “golden years,” from 1921 through the mid-1950s, when it was often referred to as the “Black Harvard of the Midwest.”

Lea Vandervelde discusses her most recent book, Redemption Songs: Suing for Freedom before Dred Scott, a groundbreaking study of more than 300 freedom suits in St. Louis. Through the careful evaluation of 12 cases, the book offers insights into the practice of slavery and the lives of those enslaved in Missouri.

From the Great Depression to the 1960s, the city of St. Louis experienced significant decline as its population and industrial base stagnated while its suburbs expanded. To combat ingrained racism, crippling levels of poverty, and substandard living conditions, black women workers in St. Louis formed a community-based culture of resistance, fighting for fair and full employment, a living wage, affordable housing, political leadership, and personal dignity. Keona K. Ervin, author of the award-winning Gateway to Equality: Black Women and the Struggle for Economic Justice in St. Louis, discusses how black women effectively grounded working-class struggle in movements for racial justice and set the stage for the defining campaigns of the explosive 1960s.

Basic Genealogy Series

SHSMO-Cape Girardeau Associate Director Bill Eddleman shares advice and strategies for researching family histories in this free multipart series.

Bill Eddleman teaches us how to assemble what we already have—or can easily access—while giving tips on how to stay organized, interview relatives, keep focused, maintain a record of research, and determine research locations.
Bill Eddleman explains how to find and use online records that are free and discover what’s available from subscription services.
Bill Eddleman discusses the information found on censuses and how it has changed from 1790 through 1940. Eddleman also talks about special census schedules.
Vital records provide basic information about an individual, including birth, death, marriage, church, and cemetery details. Bill Eddleman discusses where to locate this information, how sources vary from place to place, and the pitfalls of each type of source.

Missouri 2021 Presents

Missouri 2021 Presents is a free virtual series, held on the first Tuesday of the month, highlighting bicentennial commemorations around the state.

Missourians in rural and urban communities are coming together to showcase the vast geographic and cultural diversity of the state while celebrating the similarities that bring us together. Join Michael Sweeney, coordinator of Missouri 2021, for an overview of the exciting projects and events commemorating the state’s bicentennial.
This program draws on work by the Missouri Humanities Council and the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy that explores the controversy of accepting Missouri as the 24th state and how it ultimately leads to the Civil War.
Professional and amateur artists of all ages are commemorating 200 years of Missouri statehood with creative expression. Enjoy this presentation on collaborative projects across the state.
In this presentation, hear how organizations around the state are preserving the stories of our past and engaging new audiences.

Our Missouri Podcast

Our Missouri is a podcast about the people, places, culture, and history of the 114 counties and the independent city of St. Louis that comprise the great state of Missouri. Each episode focuses on a topic related to the state ranging from publications about Missouri’s history to current projects undertaken by organizations to preserve and promote local institutions. A selection of featured episodes is below or you can view all of them here.

Since its earliest days, Missouri has been defined by its rivers. While the Mississippi River gets most of the attention thanks to the literary works of authors like Mark Twain, the Missouri River is actually the longer of the two waterways and travels through more counties in the state than its counterpart. This episode features a conversation with Amahia Mallea about her new book, A River in the City of Fountains, and the complex history of the great river known as the "Big Muddy."
Sure, you think you know about the Ozarks. The home of Branson, the Baldknobbers, and the Beverly Hillbillies…right? Well, in this series, we'll talk about the Ozarks—a region covering roughly half of Missouri—as a cultural identity as well as a physical place. So, come along for a trip to the Ozarks. This episode features a conversation with Brooks Blevins about his new three-volume series on the Ozarks entitled A History of the Ozarks.
Sure, you think you know about the Ozarks. The home of Branson, the Baldknobbers, and the Beverly Hillbillies…right? Well, in this series, we'll talk about the Ozarks—a region covering roughly half of Missouri—as a cultural identity as well as a physical place. So, come along for a trip to the Ozarks. This episode features a conversation with John Bradbury about his edited volume of William Monks' memoir, A History of Southern Missouri and Northern Arkansas: Being an Account of the Early Settlements, the Civil War, the Ku-Klux, and Times of Peace.

Spotlight on Missouri History

These free on demand presentations explore Missouri history.

Youngstown State University professor Amy Laurel Fluker discusses Civil War commemoration in Missouri as pursued most often by women and from both sides of the conflict.
The flu epidemic of 1918 ravaged populations around the globe. It is estimated that the flu contributed to the deaths of more than 50 million people worldwide by the end of 1920. In this two-part series, SHSMO senior archivist Kathleen Seale talks about how different communities in Missouri experienced and responded to the 1918 flu epidemic.
Watch Oral Historian Sean Rost explore three unique Missouri legends that have deep ties to the Show-Me State.

Virtual Tours

Explore current and past SHSMO exhibitions through these freely available virtual tours.

Watch as SHSMO art curator Joan Stack, Ph.D., provides a virtual tour focusing on the aesthetics of the State Historical Society of Missouri’s new headquarters in Columbia. Designed by Kansas City architectural firm Gould Evans, the Center for Missouri Studies is an award-winning, state-of-the-art facility that provides lasting preservation for Missouri history and culture statewide.
As America commemorates the centennial of the 19th Amendment that gave women the vote, watch this two-part program that provides a deep dive into women's suffrage in Missouri.
Opening in 2019, the Center for Missouri Studies is a state-of-the-art facility that secures the ability of SHSMO to carry out its work for a second century. This virtual tour includes the art gallery, research center, conservation lab, classrooms, and bookstore.
Join SHSMO art curator Joan Stack, PhD, on a virtual tour of the Ellis Library exhibition, Historic Images of Black Families, exploring each piece’s significance and learning how to access resources for Black history research at the State Historical Society of Missouri.

Workshops

Learn techniques for researching and personal archiving with these free on demand workshops from SHSMO staff.

Join SHSMO oral historian Sean Rost, Ph.D., as he introduces oral history methodology from pre-interview through the final project in this on demand program from the State Historical Society of Missouri.