James Milton Turner - Boonville, MO
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member YoSam.
N 38° 58.601 W 092° 44.667
15S E 522135 N 4314219
Born into slavery in St. Louis; Freed 1843.
Waymark Code: WM1523F
Location: Missouri, United States
Date Posted: 09/30/2021
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member iconions
Views: 0

County of monument: Cooper County
Location of monument: Morgan St. & Main St., Morgan Street Park, Boonville
Artist: Kwan Wu
Dedicated: August 7, 2005

Marker Text:

James Milton Turner was born a slave in St. Louis, Missouri, on August 22, 1839. By the time of his death, on November 1, 1915, he had devoted a lifetime to the betterment of humanity and above all, to the education of his own African American race.

Freed in 1843, he became an outspoken advocate of abolition and the rights of freedmen. After the Civil war and emancipation, he worked tirelessly for black suffrage and other civil rights. First and foremost, he passionately believed that education was the key to freedom.

In 1868 he and his wife Ella came to Boonville and established the first African American school in the area, where both taught. In 1869, he began one of the greatest projects of his life, as a field agent for the Freedman's Bureau and a representative of the State Superintendent of Schools. From his home base of Boonville, Turner fought racism and helped establish more than thirty African American public schools in Missouri. He also played a major role in the founding and funding of Lincoln Institute in Jefferson City -- a school that would train generations of African American teachers.

Sadly, the importance of Turner's contributions were never fully recognized during his lifetime. His tremendous and visionary efforts were a bold early step toward a racially free and equal United States ~ Brett Rogers

Side Plaque:

James Milton Turner (1839-1915)
Bon in slavery in St. Louis, Mo.
Freed 1843
Founder, Elias Buckner African-American School in Boonville, 1869
Established 32 Missouri schools for African-Americans in 1870
Secured state funding for Lincoln Institute (later Lincoln University)
Secretary, Missouri Equal Rights League
U.S. Minister and Council General to Liberia, 1871-78
Founder, Colored Emigration Aid Association
Hannibal Black Masonic Home Advocate
Attorney for the Cherokee Freedman
Buried, Father Dickson's Cemetery, St. Louis County, Mo.

Web link: [Web Link]

History of Mark:

James Milton Turner was a significant leader in the areas of African American education, civil rights, and foreign diplomacy during the decades after the Civil War.

"Born into slavery in St. Louis County in either 1839 or 1840, James Milton Turner and his mother, Hannah, were freed in 1843. His father, John Turner, was a free black who shoed horses. During the late 1840s and early 1850s, young James was educated in secret schools in the St. Louis area. An 1847 Missouri law prohibited teaching blacks.

"After attending Oberlin College in Ohio, Turner returned to St. Louis in the late 1850s. He worked as a porter until the Civil War began. During the conflict, he acted as a body servant for Madison Miller, a Union colonel.

"Turner quickly gained prominence as a black politician after the war ended, becoming known for his speaking ability. He became involved in numerous activities to advance the rights of African Americans in Missouri and the nation. He worked for the Missouri Department of Education, establishing over thirty new schools throughout the state for African Americans. He also helped gain support for Lincoln Institute (now Lincoln University).

"In 1871 President Ulysses S. Grant appointed Turner as the U.S. minister to Liberia, making him the first African American to hold that position. Established in 1820, Liberia was founded by free blacks and former slaves from the United States. While serving there, Turner became convinced that African Americans should not return to Africa in great numbers. He did not believe they would be able to adapt to the climate. His views were not popular with other blacks." ~ Historic Missourians

Additional point: Not Listed

Visit Instructions:
A clear picture of the Marker or Plaque taken by you.
Also would appreciate you input on the text and location.
Search for...
Geocaching.com Google Map
Google Maps
Bing Maps
Nearest Waymarks
Nearest Missouri Historical Markers
Nearest Geocaches
Create a scavenger hunt using this waymark as the center point
Recent Visits/Logs:
There are no logs for this waymark yet.