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It goes without saying that Black women can be considered the creators of what we call Black history, from literally birthing our African American icons to getting things done with their own bare hands.

A portion of that work can easily be accredited to some of the many pioneering women that hail from St. Louis, Missouri — Maya Angelou, Josephine Baker, Fontella Bass, and Jackie Joyner-Kersee are just a few that come to mind — and they’ll soon be honored as a collective for making contributions to the culture by way of The Griot Museum Of Black History’s latest initiative.


Billed as the “Black HerStory Initiative,” The Griot Museum will use grant money received as part of The Monument Lab Re:Generation team to create awareness with help from local artists and activists on how much Black women have helped build the area. The Griot split a total of $1 million with 10 other organizations, each getting $100,000 to spend, with a goal to bring forth a new generation of monuments for female pioneers.

Lead by museum founder Lois D. Conley, the Black HerStory Initiative will also see collaborative efforts from Eric Ellingsen, Precious Musa, De Nichols, Andrew Olden, Darian Wigfall, Tracy Williams, and Alana Marie Woodson.

Based off a brief summary of the project on Monument Lab, their initiative states, “Black Herstory Initiative, a community-driven process in partnership with the Griot Museum, seeks to honor living Black women whose contributions span political, social, and cultural spheres through the collection of oral histories and the installation of ‘memory walks’ across numerous neighborhoods of the city.”

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The $100K will be spent towards erecting monuments in honor of St. Louis natives Pearlie Evans and Mary Meachum. Evans served as a prominent Civil Rights activist and top aide to Missouri’s inaugural African-American congressman, Bill Clay, and Meachum was an abolitionist in the 1800s that not only helped free slaves through the legendary Underground Railroad but also used her affluence to help buy the freedom of 20 enslaved people with help from husband, John Berry Meachum.

May the future continue to be female!

Pioneering Black Women From St. Louis To Be Honored By The Griot Museum Of Black History  was originally published on

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