Students update Black history panels in Capitol museum

LU students Mary Franklin, left, and Kennedy Thompson with their Pennytown panel at the Missouri History Museum inside the state Capitol. Oct. 13, 2022. (Photo by Sydnee Bryant/Clarion News)

By Sydnee Bryant/Clarion News

JEFFERSON CITY – Visitors to the Missouri State Museum inside the Capitol will now see three revamped panels completed by Lincoln University students. A reception held Oct. 13, 2022 recognized the efforts of seven students enrolled in one of Dr. Christine Boston’s anthropology courses. The fall 2021 ANT 498: Special Topics: Museum Studies class required the students to redo three Missouri Black History panels. The panels illustrate Missouri’s history with Ozarks lynchings, the historic Black village known as Pennytown, and the story of Lloyd Gaines and Margaret Bush-Wilson, a graduate of the Lincoln University School of Law, civil rights activist, and the second Black woman to pass the Missouri bar.

During the reception, students Mary Franklin and Kennedy Thompson discussed their work on the faith and resilience of Pennytown, a historical Black town near Marshall, Mo.
“What I enjoyed the most was being able to learn about the schools and the history of Pennytown,”said Thompson. Student Princess Garner, who worked on projects highlighting the story of Lloyd Gaines and former LU law student Margaret Bush-Wilson, said she appreciates the connections between the past, present, and future. “Personally, what this project means to me is that I now want to get into museum curatorship,” Garner said. “It was nice to work on this project to see if this is what I really want to do.” 

Students participating in the fall 2021 museum project include: Louie Delk (now serving in the U.S. Army), Mary Franklin, Princess Garner, Jaida Gray, Alexandre Mugisha, Crystal Taylor, and Kennedy Thompson. Their professor is proud of the work they accomplished.

“In the end, we feel that the students succeeded in their projects, and the Missouri State Museum and the public benefits with this new exhibit on display,” Boston said. “It is our hope that the students’ work helps other institutions realize new and innovative ways to develop and incorporate diverse voices into any new exhibits.” Boston noted that other people have shared positive thoughts on the project.

Retired English teacher Bev Price attended the reception and was impressed by the work. Price told Boston said she is looking forward to showing her grandson the new panels, especially the one concerning Ozarks lynchings, since the topic is barely discussed (if at all) in Missouri schools.

The museum is free and open to the public seven days a week.

LU student Princess Garner in front of a panel she worked on for an anthropology class project. The student-reworked panels are now on display in the Missouri State History Museum inside the state Capitol. (Photo by Sydnee Bryant/Clarion News)
A panel discussing Lloyd Gaines and Margaret Bush-Wilson. (Photo by Sydnee Bryant/Clarion News)
A panel discussing mob violence in southern Missouri. (Photo by Sydnee Bryant/Clarion News)
A panel revamped by LU students Kennedy Thompson, Louie Delk, and and Mary Franklin. (Photo by Sydnee Bryant/Clarion News)

About The Clarion News

Campus and community news produced by journalism students at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Mo.
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