The Black Archives Museum of the St. Joseph Museums, Inc., has been awarded funds to grow public programming through a Missouri Humanities Council grant. The funding was awarded to help provide transportation for area classes to visit the Black Archives Museum on field trips and to provide educational materials for area elementary libraries.
The Black Archives Museum primarily serves the citizens of St. Joseph and the surrounding area, but visitors and research requests come from a variety of geographic and demographic regions. Every February, the museum offers Civil Rights themed tours. The tours include presentations by members of the Black Archives Museum Committee and St. Joseph Museums staff, video presentations from Teaching Tolerance, and an immersive and interactive tour of the Black Archives Museum. By offering the Civil Rights tour, students can learn more about their Civil Rights as well as being aware of how important it is to exercise their right to vote. Through this grant, transportation for students to visit and tour the Black Archives Museum will be provided for area classes.
The grant has also allowed the Black Archives Museum to purchase enough copies of the book Jeffrey Deroine: Ioway Translator, Frontier Diplomat, to be placed in every elementary school in St. Joseph, Savannah, and Riverside, Missouri, school districts. The book, written by Greg Olson and illustrated by John Hare, is the only book written exclusively about Jeffrey Deroine, an early pioneer in the Platte Purchase territory.
This book was written for students at the elementary level with a focus on the little-known story of Jeffrey Deroine, a slave of Joseph Robidoux, the founder of St. Joseph, Missouri. Deroine sued for his freedom in 1822 as part of the Freedom Suits at the St. Louis Circuit Court. He spoke at least two languages and 10 American Indian dialects, was a signer on the Platte Purchase Treaty, and traveled to Europe with 14 members of the Ioway Nation as their translator.
In making a copy of the book on his accomplishments available in each elementary school library, students will be able to learn more about the early history of African Americans in Missouri and the role that Jeffrey Deroine had in settling Northwest Missouri.
Area educators can book a group tour for their students at stjosephmuseum.org/group-tours-1. For more information on all St. Joseph Museums, Inc., exhibits, programs, and events, please call 816-232-8471 or visit stjosephmuseum.org.
(Source: Content and image from the St. Joseph Museums, Inc.)