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People

Name:    Turner, James Milton
Category:  African-American Experience, Human and Social Services, Politics and Government
Born/Started:    1839
Died/Ended:    1915
Description:    James Milton Turner was born a slave in St. Louis and became Missouri‚Äôs most prominent post-Civil War black leader. He wanted to become the United States minister to Liberia and, in 1871, President Grant appointed Turner to that position, making him the second black person in the history of the country to become a diplomat. He held this position until 1878.

Turner had become a free man in 1843 when his mother was freed. He was then educated in St. Louis schools. He went on to study at Oberlin College in Ohio. Turner became secretary of the Missouri Equal Rights League in 1865 and traveled extensively in Southeast Missouri, advocating education and voting rights for black men. As a result of these efforts, Turner is credited with delivering 20,000 votes to the Republican Party in the 1870 election. In later years, Turner became well known as an attorney in the fight to secure black claims for government benefits and as an advocate for blacks with land and oil claims in the Oklahoma Indian Territory. He is buried in the Father Dickson cemetery in Crestwood.



Reference
Discovering African-American St. Louis
Missouris Black Heritage
Selected Neighbors and Neighborhoods of North St. Louis

 

 

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