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Map of the Missouri Compromise 1820 from the Library of Congress.
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John M. Olin Library, Lobby

Slavery in St. Louis

The famous Black abolitionist William Wells Brown once remarked, “No part of our slave-holding country is more noted for the barbarity of its inhabitants than St. Louis.” This exhibition tells the story of slavery in St. Louis through primary source documents, historic images, and individual stories of enslavement across nine banners covering the founding of St. Louis from 1764 to the Reconstruction era.

The Slavery in St. Louis exhibition also discusses how present-day institutions, including Washington University, are researching and working to address their historical entanglements with slavery.

The Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site organized this exhibition. The National Park Service also offers an online version of The History of Slavery in St. Louis exhibition.