On Saturday, May 18, 2013, at 11:00 a.m., area residents are invited to watch local history come alive as Missouri’s first national Underground Railroad site, the historic Mary Meachum Freedom Crossing, is transformed into a Civil War military camp.  The FREE event is taking place in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and will highlight the experiences recently emancipated black slaves had enlisting in the Union Army during the Civil War. The replica recruitment camp will look very similar to what the public would have seen in 1863 in and around St. Louis’ own Benton Barracks, the largest Union Army training camp in Missouri during the Civil War and the largest African-American recruitment and induction site from Ohio to California.  

The event will feature historical figures, cavalry units with horses, a cannon, period games for children, an example of a Freedman school, a 19th century medicine show, choirs, an 1863 fashion show and a barn dance.  The event will also honor Lincoln University, which owes its founding to contributions made by the Black 62nd and 65th regiments organized at Benton Barracks.  Men of African descent and Lincoln University alumni are invited to walk the path their ancestors took from slave to citizen soldier and participate in the reenactment of the 62nd and 65th black units.

This free event is sponsored by Great Rivers Greenway, Youth and Family Center, the National Black Tourism Network, the City of St. Louis, St. Louis Public Library, Lincoln University, Lindenwood University, and the Daniel Boone Home and Heritage Center.

The Mary Meachum Freedom Crossing site is located by the Riverfront Trail on the banks of the Mississippi River, just north of Merchant’s Bridge in North St. Louis City.

For more information on the event or on how to participate, contact Angela da Silva, nbtn@earthlink.net, or Doug Eller, (314) 258-6532.


  • Occurred Saturday, May 18th, 2013 — all day


Mary Meachum Freedom Crossing

28 E. Grand Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63147


Angela da Silva