Upcoming in

Crossing the Red Sea, St. Louis and the Exodus of 1879

Presentation by Professor Bryan Jack

Join Professor Bryan Jack as he discusses the Exodus of 1879.

Exodusters on St. Louis Levee

Time and Place

Tuesday, October 11, 2022
7:00 pm

Les Bourgeois Vineyards Bistro
View on map

Presentation by Professor of History at Southern Illinois University of Edwardsville Bryan Jack

Tuesday, October 11th, 2022

The Bistro Restaurant is closed on Tuesdays, but the bar will be open. You ARE welcome to come early, bring some food and gather with friends before the presentation. Speaker Series attendees are welcome after 6:00 p.m.

Hosted by Missouri River Relief 


In 1879, thousands of African Americans fled the post-Reconstruction South in search of political, economic, and social opportunity in Kansas. Called “Exodusters” after the Biblical story of escape from oppression, many arrived in St. Louis destitute, and city officials refused to help. To the stranded Exodusters, St. Louis became a barrier as formidable as the Red Sea. However, through a commitment to civil rights and a remarkable display of community organization, African Americans in St. Louis came together to sustain the Exodusters’ material needs as well as provide funds to continue their journey. The Exoduster movement, and the relief efforts that supported it, provide a unique opportunity to further our understanding of St. Louis as a city, of Missouri as a state, and of African American life in an era of dramatic change.

Register Here


Bryan Jack is associate professor of historical studies at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville. He is the the editor of Southern History on Screen: Race and Rights, 1976–2016 and The Saint Louis African American Community and the Exodusters.  His articles have appeared in The Griot and the Councilor, and in international publications from the British Association of American Studies and American Studies of Turkey. Jack earned his PhD from Saint Louis University, a master’s degree from the University of Alabama, and a bachelor’s degree from Baker University. He lives in the city of St. Louis.









  • 14020 W. Hwy BB, Rocheport, MO
  • Take I-70 to the Rocheport, MO, exit (Exit #115). It’s the first exit east of the Missouri River.
  • Head north toward Rocheport.
  • After about a mile, turn left at the sign for Les Bourgeois Bistro. Follow the signs to the Bistro. You will probably need to park in the lot above the Bistro and walk the trail down.
  • The presentations are held in upstairs in the restaurant. The restaurant is no longer open on Tuesdays but the bar is! You are welcome to bring your own food or snacks.

Resources and Links

For more background on this topic, here are some resources written by Prof. Bryan Jack:

The Big Muddy Speaker Series in Rocheport

is hosted by these wonderful partners.

Click here for a list of upcoming presentations»

Special thanks to Les Bourgeois Vineyards for giving us the opportunity to use their beautiful space overlooking the Missouri River. All speakers are presenting for free! Thank you all for sharing your knowledge with us!

The Big Muddy Speaker Series also takes place in  St. Charles where it is hosted by Greenway Network.

The views and opinions expressed by our presenters do not necessarily reflect the view or policies of Missouri River Relief, the Big Muddy Speaker Series or any of the partners that support this public forum. The Big Muddy Speaker Series believes that hearing diverse perspectives is a crucial building block for an informed public.