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Charles and Elizabeth Birthright Home

Dexter, Missouri

Cause Description:
The Clarkton Historical Society is restoring the home of Charles and Elizabeth Birthright. The Birthrights where prominent former-slaves that provided the majority of the working capital to constructing the first multi-story school house in Clarkton, Dunklin County, Missouri. At their deaths in 1914, they also left their entire estate valued at over $250,000 to Tuskegee Institute (now Stillman College) located in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, for the education of African Americans to become ministers of the Presbyterian faith. The donation was the largest ever given to a black college until the mid-1980's. Not bad for a farmer and seamstress from Missouri. Charles Birthright was one of the most prominent businessmen in Dunklin County and was listed as one of the 10 most influential people in Dunklin County in a early report from the Daily Dunklin Democrat, Kennett, Missouri in 1906. The Clarkton Historical Society has been awarded the McReynolds Award by Missouri Preservation for their work in stabilizing and restoring this historic structure. The building is in extreme need of funds to complete the restoration. The home will be used for the education of the public on how the Birthrights lived and prospered in a community with strong confederate and KuKluxKlan ties. The Birthrights story is used by most Missouri Schools in the 4th grade as a lesson on slavery and reconstruction.

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