The World We Have Lost: The African-American Community in Arrow Rock, Missouri, from 1870-1950
Arrow Rock, MO is located in Saline County along the Missouri River and has a current population of only fifty-six people. Its National Historic Landmark village contains thirteen structures preserved by the Friends of Arrow Rock organization. They are committed to educating people about the history of Arrow Rock and its connection to westward expansion through family-friendly exhibits and programs.
During the Civil War, Arrow Rock was home to a large African American population. In 1996, Friends of Arrow Rock was awarded a grant to honor this once forgotten history. This project consisted of three public programs and one panel discussion to tell the story of how African Americans struggled to establish their own lives in the 1860s and 1870s.
Using Arrow Rock as a window into the post-emancipation experience, these programs focused on three areas of African American life: Education, Religion, and Family. They were hosted in 1997 at various locations in Arrow Rock and nearby counties. They informed local citizens about how African Americans defined freedom, shared resources, and built a self-reliant community amid persistent racial discrimination. Some were even held in conjunction with other events to fully celebrate the African American heritage of the Arrow Rock community. The events educated an audience of nearly 250 on a renewed narrative of African American history.