The Artifact Gallery was made possible by a generous gift from the William T. Kemper Foundation – Commerce Bank, Trustee.
Elijah Lovejoy, a Presbyterian minister, moved to Missouri in 1833 to become editor of the St. Louis Observer. Initially, the newspaper's purpose was to promote Protestantism, but as the slavery debate widened, Lovejoy published more articles on the evils of slavery. When Francis J. McIntosh, a free black man, killed a St. Louis deputy sheriff and wounded a deputy constable in an altercation, a mob captured him and burned him alive. Lovejoy responded to the brutal episode by writing an editorial entitled "Awful Murder and Savage Barbarity." Judge Luke E. Lawless, who had presided over an inquest of the killing, blamed Lovejoy's Observer and other abolitionist extremism for emboldening McIntosh to act violently, thereby resulting in his own death. Succumbing to pressure, Lovejoy moved the newspaper across the river to Alton, Illinois, but steadfast in his convictions, he did not let up. On November 7, 1837, he was killed by a pro-slavery mob while protecting his press. Both McIntosh's and Lovejoy's murders garnered national attention and fueled a growing anti-slavery movement.