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Upcoming Speaker Series Presentations

The Thursday Evening Speaker Series is free of charge and open to the public. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Unless otherwise noted, programs will be held at the Missouri State Archives, located at 600 W. Main Street in Jefferson City. The series is underwritten by the Friends of the Missouri State Archives.

[Presentation Videos from past events are available at the following location:
Missouri State Archives Presentation Videos.]



The Rural Cemetery Movement:

Places of Paradox in Nineteenth Century America

Thursday, September 19, 2019, 7 p.m.


In his book, The Rural Cemetery Movement: Places of Paradox in Nineteenth Century America, Dr. Jeffrey Smith explores the growth of garden cemeteries in the United States during the three decades before the Civil War. As church and municipal burial grounds in urban centers became overcrowded, new cemeteries were established in lower population density areas. These new “rural” cemeteries fulfilled the sacred function of burial, while providing green spaces and respites from urban life, establishing institutions where people could craft their roles in collective memory and serving as prototypes for both urban planning and city parks. They were also paradoxical in nature: “rural” yet urban, natural yet designed, artistic yet industrial, commemorating the dead yet used by the living. Unlike their predecessors, founders of these burial grounds intended them to be used in many ways that reflected their views and values about nature, life and death and relationships. Join us as Smith details his research on the history of cemeteries in the 19th century and how they can help us better understand the values, attitudes and culture of urban America from mid-century through the Progressive Era.



Remembering the Ste. Genevieve Race Riot:

Historical Memory and the Expulsion of African Americans from a Small Missouri Town

Thursday, October 17, 2019, 7 p.m.


In Remembering the Ste. Genevieve Race Riot of 1930: Historical Memory and the Expulsion of African Americans from a Small Missouri Town, Dr. Patrick J. Huber tells of a four-day disturbance, long shrouded in secrecy, in which white vigilantes drove away 250 of the community’s black inhabitants. The victims were both longtime residents and recent arrivals recruited to work in local lime kilns and stone quarries. Sparked by a robbery and murder, events quickly spiraled out of control with the vigilantes demanding African Americans leave the town. All but two families eventually did, and they remained only because of shelter provided by a local Catholic priest. After the Missouri National Guard was called in to stop the riot, a few families did return, but the mob’s actions forever changed the racial composition of Ste. Genevieve and the African American population never again reached pre-riot levels. Join us as Huber examines how this tragic incident has played a significant role in the race relations of the area today.