Moving Along and Across a Great River
Mary Meachum believed slavery was wrong, and she did something about it!
Did you know you are standing at the first site in Missouri to be added to the National Park Service's Underground Railroad Network to Freedom? At this site along the Mississippi River on May 21, 1855, an African-American woman named Mary Meachum helped nine courageous enslaved people board a small boat with the goal of crossing the river to Illinois towards their freedom. Most of the members of the group were caught, and Mary was charged with "enticing slaves to escape". Today, this site is the home of the annual Mary Meachum Freedom Crossing Celebration. What would you be willing to risk for your freedom?
Mary Meachum used her home as a stop on the Underground Railroad. Usually not underground or involving a railroad, the Underground Railroad refers to all the freedom seekers and all the varied routes they took, or attempted to take, to freedom. The Underground Railroad includes everyone who helped those seeking freedom. As a major city in a slave state just across the Mississippi River from the free state of Illinois, St. Louis was a pivotal point in the Underground Railroad. Do you know how the Underground Railroad got its name?
Since prehistoric times, the Mississippi
River has been used to transport people and goods. Native American people lived along the Mississippi River for many years because the area was a good place for hunting animals and growing plants that could be eaten. Today, the corridor is still used to transport freight by truck, train and ship. Birds, butterflies and other wildlife use the Mississippi Greenway on their migration routes, and people use the Mississippi Greenway to walk, run, ride a bike, and enjoy the outdoors. How do you use the Mississippi Greenway?