Black History leaves its mark in St. Louis

Owen Crews
Sports Editor

Tour guide Heather Moll plays some ragtime music at the Scott Joplin House. Scott Joplin was a famous composer known for playing and popularizing ragtime music. Photo by Owen Crews

Black History Month is a time for celebrating culture and the past of African American culture and is rooted in all over the world including Saint Louis.

Dan Fuller, event and volunteer coordinator, of Bellefontaine Cemetery gives out tours specific to the African American experience. 

Fuller said via email, “Our cemetery is rich with history, and it becomes a focus of what you are looking.” 

Fuller also mentioned the 87,000 burials at the place and the two most famous people are John Berry Meachum and Priscilla Baltimore. Fuller added via email, “We are 87,000 burials, and each one has a rich story.”

The Griot Museum of Black History in North Saint Louis is also a place for learning about historical people all over history from obscure people to people everybody knows of. It is a wax and historical museum. It is a smallish museum only having one floor and was mostly a self paced activity with tons of information about black history.

Dana Roberts, special projects assistant, of the Griot Museum of Black History, was very interested in this place and its values. She mentioned her director inspired her to try and do her internship here. 

Roberts said, “African Americans don’t get the credit they deserve, for some of the inventions. While there are a lot of stories of despair there are stories of resilience, and how humankind adapt to their situations and rise above it.” 

Roberts added, “We are open Wednesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and everybody should come to learn about the black experience,” when talking about the Griot museum and what she wanted the public to know.

 Lastly, the Scott Joplin House was the place he lived during his stint living in North St. Louis and historians speculate what it looked like today. Since it was forgotten until the 1970s revival of jazz and ragtime, it was actually discovered to be where he lived. It was then turned into a museum and has a 45ish minute story talking about his time here and has now secured its place as a national state park.

Heather Moll, the tour guide at the Scott Joplin House, had some thoughts on why people should be learning about black history, “Black history is everybody’s history, and we will talk about that more on the tour, but so much of our culture, especially from popular culture comes from the black experience and the black community, musically from ragtime, to blues to jazz, rock and roll, and hip hop. We have appropriated this culture without respecting where it comes from.”

Moll also mentioned about the history being erased. Moll studied and found that there were absolutely no archives of primary sources of African American experience during the World’s Fair. 

Moll added, “That is a huge chunk of the historical record that is just gone”  about the lack of primary sources and what can happen if records of history are not kept. 

See Also: Webster Groves High School celebrates Black History Month

See Also: Voices of Webster: High school observes Black History Month


Owen Crews

This will be Owen Crews’ first year on ECHO staff, but he made several contributions while taking journalism class his sophomore year.

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