Soldiers' Memorial, Lincoln University Jefferson City, MO
N 38° 33.857 W 092° 10.133
15S E 572407 N 4268753
Quick Description: The memorial salutes the founders of Lincoln and their quest for educating free blacks after the Civil War. The prime mover was a white officer, Richard Baxter Foster in sculptor Ed Dwight's bronze work dedicated in 2007. He stands behind his men.
Location: Missouri, United States
Date Posted: 2/4/2009 2:40:40 AM
Waymark Code: WM5QWY
Richard Baxter Foster from New Hampshire, a 1851 Dartmouth College graduate,came west. On history’s stage, he became a part of the events leading up to America’s Civil War. For example, after teaching in Illinois and Iowa,his sympathy for the America’s slaves grew into action when he went to Kansas and made a trip in 1856 with the legendary JOHN BROWN and JIM LANE (known as the Liberator of Kansas) in the bloody border action that preceded the Civil War.
To complete this portrait of this determined abolitionist, he and the soldiers of his units formed in Missouri, founded Lincoln Institute in 1866. Today it is known as Lincoln University of Jefferson City, Missouri–one of the nation’s Historically Black Universities— known to many in the 20s and 30s as the “ Harvard of the Midwest” for its quality faculty from eastern universities.
In May 2007, a “Soldier’s Memorial” monument was dedicated. Sculptor Ed Dwight featured Richard Baxter Foster and his enlisted men who helped found the Lincoln Institute immediately after their service in the Union Army at war’s end.
In August, 2008 Foster's name made the local newspaper and AP news wire as his Civil War letters to his family were donated to the archives of Lincoln University. You can see his photo and newspaper article online at: (visit link
You can also read more about Foster in the Dictionary of Missouri Biography. See online at:
In Ed Dwight's sculpture Foster stands with his hat in his hand behind two of his enlisted soldiers. It is also interesting to note that sculptor Ed Dwight was America’s first black astronaut trainee.
If you also visit Jefferson City’s Cole County Historical Society’s Civil War Room, you can see photos of the black enlisted men-- who with Foster founded Lincoln Institute. They were: Sergeant Jacob Anderson ; 1st Sergeant Nelson Bergarrise; and Private John Jefferies from the 62nd United States Colored Troops. Private Logan Bennett was from the 65th United States Colored Troops.
So, as you view sculptor Dwight’s work, the central figures on the monument are Foster and the two sergeants. The bronze figure approaching the monument represents one of the two privates. My guess is that it represents Logan Bennett of the 65th.
Since its founding in 1866, Lincoln's students and educators have achieved milestones in the civil rights movement: a landmark US Supreme Court decision in 1938 (Missouri v. Gaines)that was a stepping stone towards the famed Brown v. Board of Education in 1954;
on the sports scene Lincoln athletic instructor Althea Gibson broke the color barrier for men and women in tennis in 1957 by winning at Wimbleton in England and at the U.S. Open in Forest Hills, NY.
The new statue group stands as a tribute to those men who started the long task of achieving racial equality through education. They chose the institute's name too. When you visit this waymark be sure to also see the Abraham Lincoln mural by Thomas Hart Benton in the Innman Page Library nearby.