Freeman's Heritage

Freeman's Heritage: Lexington's First African American School

What began in January of 2002, as a search for Lexington’s place in the history of the Underground Railroad, instead uncovered the forgotten heritage of a small group of dedicated Christians who voluntarily established the first School for the children of the newly freed Colored Slaves. Lexington, Missouri’s German Methodist Episcopalians established this classroom in the basement of their Church in the winter of 1865-66, two years ahead of what previously had been thought of as the beginning of formal education for the Negros.

The Missouri Valley Register, a new newspaper to Lexington, recorded in early 1866, the extraordinary qualifications of this new School’s primary teacher, Miss M. E. Parker. She, with the assistance of Mrs. McFarland, was responsible for the instruction of approximately 70 young African-American students. This revelation is a bright light in Lexington’s Civil War history that has previously focused on the September 1861 victory of the Missouri Guard in the ‘Battle of the Hemp Bales’.

In November of 2003 a memorial ceremony was held dedicating the church site with two bronze plaques which highlight the history of this Congregation and the teachers who were a part of this educational milestone. In attendance at this ceremony were descendants of the third school teacher, Mrs. Elizabeth Randle. Note: See picture above.

This is the responsibility of the Freeman's Heritage:

"To set at liberty
those who are oppressed"

Luke 4:18 (NKJ)