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Boonville in Cooper County, Missouri — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

James Milton Turner

(1839 - 1915)

 
 
James Milton Turner Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By William Fischer, Jr., April 11, 2011
1. James Milton Turner Marker
Inscription.  
Born in slavery in St. Louis County, 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 Counsel General
to Liberia, 1871-78
Founder, Colored Emigration Aid Association
Hannibal Black Masonic Home Advocate
Attorney for the Cherokee Freedmen
Buried, Father Dickson's Cemetery, St. Louis County, Mo.

Dedicated August 7, 2005
Sculptor: Kwan Wu


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
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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 Freedmen'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 was 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
 
Erected 2005 by City of Boonville, Concerned Citizens and Others.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Abolition & Underground RRAfrican AmericansCivil RightsEducation. In addition, it is included in the Historically Black Colleges and Universities series list. A significant historical month for this entry is November 1863.
 
Location. 38° 58.599′ N, 92° 44.666′ W. Marker
James Milton Turner Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By William Fischer, Jr., April 11, 2011
2. James Milton Turner Marker
is in Boonville, Missouri, in Cooper County. Marker is on Morgan Street near Main Street (U.S. 40), on the left when traveling east. Monument is in Morgan Street Park. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Boonville MO 65233, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. David Barton (here, next to this marker); Walter Williams (here, next to this marker); Hannah Allison Cole (here, next to this marker); George Caleb Bingham (a few steps from this marker); Frederick T. Kemper (a few steps from this marker); Capture of Boonville (within shouting distance of this marker); Cooper County Korea - Vietnam War Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Cooper County World War Memorial (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Boonville.
 
James Milton Turner Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By William Fischer, Jr., April 11, 2011
3. James Milton Turner Marker
James Milton Turner Bust image. Click for full size.
Photographed By William Fischer, Jr., April 11, 2011
4. James Milton Turner Bust
Morgan Street Park image. Click for full size.
Photographed By William Fischer, Jr.
5. Morgan Street Park
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on August 11, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 1,332 times since then and 17 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on August 11, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.

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Feb. 26, 2024