We are revisiting connections between slavery and WashU's earliest leaders, including less recognized figures like John O'Fallon (1791-1865). A founding trustee and key benefactor, O'Fallon was one of the wealthiest men and largest slave holders in nineteenth century Missouri. Pictured: Colonel John O'Fallon Residence in O'Fallon Park, illustrated by Sallie O'Fallon, 1939 (Credit: Missouri Historical Society).
Washington University in St. Louis (WashU) was founded in 1853 and developed over its first half-century in downtown St. Louis before relocating to a new "Hilltop campus" west of the city in 1905. Several of the institution's founding leaders derived their wealth and power in part through the dispossession of Native Americans and exploitation of enslaved African Americans, and were otherwise invested in the perpetuation of white dominance, through slavery and other means.