May 16, 1840: James Milton Turner was born into slavery on this day in St. Louis. He went on to establish schools for African-Americans across the state, and Ulysses S. Grant appointed Turner as ambassador to Liberia, which made him the first black US ambassador.
This post was contributed by Ross Malone. A historian and a retired school teacher, Ross has authored many books about Missouri’s history, weird facts, and folk tales. He has also written children’s historical fiction. Visit his website, and buy his books in the Missouri Life store.