1858 – 1938
Teacher, businessman and horticulturalist, Henry Kirklin was born into slavery in Boone County and worked in a Columbia greenhouse as a young man. He bought property on what was then the edge of Columbia and became a commercial fruit and vegetable farmer. Though segregation prohibited him from holding a formal faculty position at the University of Missouri, Kirklin taught students there and later held a position as teacher at the Bartlett Agricultural and Industrial School, which gave African American students agricultural and vocational training in Chariton County, Missouri.
Kirklin spoke widely across the nation about his innovative farming methods and gave demonstrations for the Missouri State Board of Agriculture at county fairs and African American schools. Kirlin was an active member of the Columbia community and supported young African Americans who wanted to attend college.