Hermann, Missouri is hosting its first Black History Month celebration on Feb. 29. The Herman Symposium will include guest speakers and will look at Hermann’s abolitionist history.
By: Alexandria Darmody
In the small town of Hermann, located along the Missouri River between Columbia and St. Louis, a new tradition is beginning this decade.
The Missouri Humanities Council, Cross-Cultural Strategies and Visit Hermann have collaborated on Hermann’s first ever Black History Month celebration. The Hermann Symposium is set to take place Feb. 29 from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Hermannhof Festhalle, 237 E. First St.
This event is not just about black history in this small town, however. The symposium will explore the historically German town’s unknown history as an abolitionist hub.
“There is a rich history between Germans and African Americans in Missouri that is not widely known,” Tammy Bruckerhoff, the Visit Hermann tourism director, said in a press release. “Many German immigrants only spoke German, yet recognized that the hope for a growing democracy in America would only be realized if slavery was abolished … Hermann was ground zero with the earliest anti-slavery newspaper (the Hermann Wochenblatt).”
The symposium will include speakers such as Gary Kremer, the executive director of The State Historical Society of Missouri, Sydney Norton, author of “German Abolitionists”: “Fighting for a Free Missouri”, and other authors, playwrights and experts sharing their knowledge on this niche subject. Live performances from both the Good Hope Praise Team and An Amazing Story: German Abolitionists of Missouri will also take place at the symposium.
A special tour is available for those interested in the Deutscheim State Historic Site—home of the Hermanner Wochenblatt and where an original 1865 Ordinance Abolishing Slavery in Missouri will be displayed from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the same day.
Hermann’s inaugural celebration of Black History Month is much anticipated with local German restaurants available around the site and special collaborations with Missouri State Parks and Showboat Community Theater. The event intends to honor the history of German abolitionists and initiate the first Black History month celebration in the area.