Archer Alexander – Missouri’s last fugitive slave

The CIVIL WAR ROUND TABLE of the District of Columbia will host speaker and public historian Dorris Keeven-Franke, of Saint Charles, Missouri at their September 28, 2021 Zoom Meeting. The free Zoom lecture begins at 8pm Eastern Time/7pm Central Time. The free lecture is a Zoom Meeting that can be seen at Meeting URL

Local Militia Union Troops at the Peruque Creek blockhouse in St. Charles County, Missouri

In 1863, Missouri was a border state that was a hotbed of hostility. A Governor Pro-Temp had been installed when elected officials had fled the state, because they could not achieve secession. Union troops had taken hold. Slave owners were neighbors to abolitionists. When Union troops received a tip that the area secesh had planned to damage a local bridge and impact the troop supply line, suspicion fell on Richard Pitman’s property, Archer Alexander.

Archer Alexander

Archer fled to St. Louis, where the fugitive was taken in by the esteemed Unitarian minister and abolitionist, William Greenleaf Eliot, founder of Washington University. Author Dorris Keeven-Franke who has spent years delving into the military records, depositions, and historical documents, will be sharing Archer’s untold story. Eliot was also part of the Western Sanitary Commission, that oversaw the donations of the formerly enslaved for the Emancipation Memorial in Washington D.C.’s Lincoln Park. Archer is the face of freedom as he is shown to be rising beneath Lincoln’s outstretched arm and breaking his own shackles. While historians have relied for years on Eliot’s Archer Alexander – From Slavery to Freedom Keeven-Franke’s research has revealed that there is so much more to this man’s amazing story.

Historian Keeven-Franke is the author of several books on Missouri history, a professional genealogist with over forty years of experience and a professional archivist that volunteers for local institutions. Her research on Archer’s story has taken her from Missouri to Virginia and Washington, D.C., using documents uncovered even in the National Archives. Keeven-Franke is working with the family of Archer, who is also the ancestor of Muhammad Ali.  She also works as a consultant on an International basis and is the Executive Director of Missouri Germans Consortium.
(J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
(J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

For more about Archer Alexander see

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