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Oct 29, 2021

Baker Sterchi Member Paul Venker Featured Guest Columnist in St. Louis Lawyer Magazine

Baker Sterchi Member Paul Venker was asked to guest write the President’s Column of the October 2021 edition of the St. Louis Lawyer magazine, featuring an article about artist Preston Jackson’s design for the Freedom Suits Memorial.

The Freedom Suits Memorial, honoring courageous slave plaintiffs who took a great deal of personal risk to sue for their freedom in the decades leading up to the Civil War, as well as the lawyers and judges who helped them, will sit on the eastern plaza of the Civil Courts Building in downtown St. Louis.

Venker is the chair of the Freedom Suits Memorial Steering Committee. In 2016, the Steering Committee selected the design of Preston Jackson, a professor emeritus at The Art Institute of Chicago, for the Memorial. Jackson’s vision for the Memorial was of a cast bronze work, with each angle providing a pictorial lesson of how these lawsuits divided a society that permitted some slaves to sue for freedom, but also kept so many more in slavery.

In the column, Venker indicates Jackson “made our unanimous selection of his proposed sculpture almost undeniable,” adding that the sculpture “impacted the way I see and interpret events in American society, both past and present.”

The St. Louis Lawyer Magazine, a publication of The Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis, covers legal news and issues throughout the St. Louis area.