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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Cairo in Alexander County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

York the Slave

 
 
York the Slave Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, March 17, 2009
1. York the Slave Marker
Inscription. York was the first known African American to cross the American continent. In the company of the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery, from 1803-1806, he shared equally with them the rigors of the journey, but when the corps was honored, he received no recognition. Whenever the corps came upon American Indian tribes, however, his uniqueness became apparent. To the Crow, York's blackness of skin was viewed as "big medicine," to the Shoshonis and Nez Perce, he was a man of curiosity and strength and awe.

Born about 1772 to slave parents, Old York and Rose, York was the body servant of William Clark. York grew up in Virginia and Kentucky and traveled with the future Captain Clark on his expeditions. In the early 1810's, York was freed by Clark. Involved in drayage and domestic service in Tennessee, York lived possibly into the early 1830's.
 
Erected by City of Cairo.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Lewis & Clark Expedition marker series.
 
Location. 37° 0.172′ N, 89° 10.327′ W. Marker is in Cairo, Illinois, in Alexander County. Marker is at the intersection of Washington Avenue (U.S. 51) and 15th Street, on the right when traveling north on Washington Avenue. Touch for map.
Back of Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, March 17, 2009
2. Back of Marker
The back lists contributors for the marker project.
Located on the grounds of the Old US Customs House and Post Office. Marker is in this post office area: Cairo IL 62914, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Duncan Cannon (within shouting distance of this marker); The Beginning of the Third Principal Meridian (approx. 1.1 miles away); The Ohio River Bridge (approx. 1.5 miles away); Lewis and Clark in Illinois (approx. 1.6 miles away); Historical Survey Marker (approx. 1.6 miles away); Lewis & Clark (approx. 1.6 miles away); Cairo, Illinois (approx. 1.6 miles away); The Meeting of the Rivers (approx. 2.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Cairo.
 
Categories. African AmericansExploration
 
The US Customs House and Post Office in Cairo image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, March 17, 2009
3. The US Customs House and Post Office in Cairo
The building was started in 1867 and completed in 1872, and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on May 31, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 2,320 times since then and 70 times this year. Last updated on March 22, 2011, by Allen Gathman of Pocahontas, Missouri. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on May 31, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.
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