Gateway Arch National Park Hosts Special Programs During African-American Heritage Month
ST. LOUIS – In celebration of African-American Heritage Month in February, Gateway Arch National Park hosts two special events that commemorate trailblazer Elizabeth Keckley and African American women suffragists in St. Louis. Events are free to the public and open to all ages. No reservations are required.
“As the country comes together to commemorate African Americans throughout history, here at Gateway Arch National Park we are spotlighting the struggles and achievements of those whose fights for civil rights have strong ties to St. Louis,” says Erin Hilligoss-Volkmann, Director of Education, Gateway Arch National Park.
WHAT: Elizabeth Keckley Living History Performance
WHEN: Friday, Feb. 7; 10:15 a.m.
WHERE: Mezzanine inside the Gateway Arch Visitor Center
DETAILS: Living history interpreter Marlene Rivero tells the story of Elizabeth Keckley, an enslaved African-American woman who lived in St. Louis, where she worked as a seamstress and bought her freedom. Keckley eventually became the friend and personal seamstress to First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln. Rivero’s powerful performance highlights Keckley’s quest for her freedom and the freedom for all African Americans through her acts of compassion.
WHAT: African American Women’s Suffrage
WHEN: Saturday, Feb. 15; 2 p.m.
WHERE: Education Classroom at the Gateway Arch (located on lower level of Arch Visitor Center)
DETAILS: Lynne Jackson is a direct descendant of Dred and Harriet Scott – who famously sued for their freedom from slavery at the Old Courthouse, prior to the Civil War – and the founder and president of the Dred Scott Heritage Foundation. She will present the history of civil rights and African American women’s suffrage, and visitors will learn how the past connects the present, and how women and African Americans fought their right to vote in St. Louis.
VISITING THE OLD COURTHOUSE
Part of Gateway Arch National Park, the Old Courthouse was the site of the first two trials of the pivotal Dred Scott case in 1847 and 1850. It was also where Virginia Minor’s case for a woman’s right to vote came to trial in the 1870s. At the Old Courthouse, visit the Dred Scott exhibit on the first floor, where you can learn more about the Scotts’ struggle for freedom and watch film “Legacy of Courage: Dred Scott & the Quest for Freedom,” which shows for free throughout the day. You can also tour two restored courtrooms located on the courthouse’s second floor.
ARCH VISITOR REMINDERS
The Tram Ride to the Top of the Arch sells out early and often. Visitors are strongly encouraged to purchase tram ride tickets in advance at gatewayarch.com/buytickets. Please plan to arrive at least 30 minutes ahead of your scheduled tram time. For more information, visit nps.gov/jeff or gatewayarch.com, or call 877-982-1410.
Visitors to the Arch must enter the monument at the new glass west entrance, which faces the Old Courthouse. The Arch legs are exits only.
Gateway Arch National Park does not have designated on-site visitor parking. A list of parking locations near the park can be found at getaroundstl.com. Metered street parking is also available around the park.