Archer Alexander was born enslaved in Rockbridge County Virginia, taken to Saint Charles County in Missouri in 1829, and lies buried in St. Louis where he fled to in 1863. In 1876, he would break his own chains and rise alongside Lincoln, on the Emancipation Memorial in Washington, D.C. In 1880, he died an unknown hero.
In 1806, Archer Alexander was born the enslaved property of John Alexander, a Lexington landowner, farmer and Presbyterian Elder . When his father died in 1828, James Alexander would inherit his property, and in 1829 take Archer to Missouri, where he settled on Dardenne Prairie in St. Charles County. When James Alexander died, Archer would be sold to Richard H. Pitman. In 1863, Archer would learn that Pitman, and other area men, had sabotaged the Peruque Creek Bridge timbers and stored arms in Campbell’s icehouse. He knew what he had to do. Running five miles on that cold February night, he warned the Union troops of the danger just in time. But the slave patrol was soon out to lynch him!
In July 2019, Archer Alexander’s great-great-great grandson Keith Winstead and author Dorris Keeven-Franke visited Lexington and the Rockbridge Historical Society in Virginia. There they would meet Eric Wilson, Lisa McCowan, visit the homesites and cemeteries of the Alexanders, McCluers and Campbells, retracing Archer’s first twenty-three years. Their journey was recently chronicled in the The News-Gazette article The Face of Freedom by Eric Wilson. He shares it here https://www.thenews-gazette.com/content/face-freedom
On July 1, 2020 Eleanore Holmes Norton would put forth a bill to remove the Emancipation Monument in Washington, D.C.. Please consider signing the Change.org petition to see that the memorial which was paid for by the former enslaved, remains in Lincoln Park where they erected it in 1876. https://www.change.org/EmancipationMonumentDC
Leave a Reply