Friday, June 27, 2014

#132: Mary Meachum Freedom Crossing

A view of the Mississippi River from the crossing and cake
Of all the cakes that I've so far hunted, this one may take the cake (pun intended!) of being the one most difficult to find, but not to get. I think as of now the Edward Jones Dome cake is the one hardest to get! The first time I attempted to get this cake was on a Sunday afternoon, before I was to get the North City cakes. Well, as I was driving on the battered roads, looking for the right road (East Prairie Avenue), I finally came across the entrance. I wasn't aware that it was at the time, since there were no signs that read anything about 'Mary Meachum'. On the map, it looked confusing too.
A view of the trail (facing north) from the cake
So who was Mary Meachum? She led a small group of slaves (women and children) who crossed the Mississippi River to the free-state of Illinois. Meachum was a widow of John Berry Meachum, who ministered at the First African Baptist Church of St. Louis. She had already been free, but she wanted to help others. Around the time this happened, there were homes that they fled from that existed. They are long gone, but an 1855 newspaper article documented that the place was not far from the Merchant's Bridge, which is three miles north of St. Louis.

The Freedom Crossing consists of nine acres. It was Missouri's first official Underground Railroad site. Since the marking's dedication in 2001, the site has hosted celebrations every year since. It typically has historic re-enactments. For example, there is an Abraham Lincoln impersonator. Speakers who specialize in African-American and Civil War history often speak at the event. At the 2013 event, there were many speakers and choirs that day, as well as a 19th century medicine show. In 2014, a woman dressed up as a slave named 'Lila' gave a moving talk.
The entrance in order to get to the cake and the MM Freedom Crossing. The colorful part was decorated by students of Logos School.

The cake, in which Rich Brooks focuses on 'walking'. Since this is literally off the trail, close to the mid-point, this kind of gives the person utilizing this trail a feel of it. Notice the lines "I'm Walking", "Walking a Thin Line", "Walking in a Winter Wonderland" and "Walking in the Rain". You'll also see a lot of feet-related material too.
Top of the cake

Right side of the cake

Back side of the cake
Left side of the cake
There is no official website or anything related from government websites, but here is the VisitMo page for MMFC.
Mary Meachum Freedom Crossing (Celebration) on FB

28 East Prairie Ave., ST. LOUIS, MO, 63147
Cake artist: Rich Brooks

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