African-American Heritage Trail leader speaking at Jan. 31, 2023 meeting

Barbra A.B. Horrell, co-director of the African American Heritage Trail organization, will be the speaker at the 7 p.m. Jan. 31, 2023 meeting of CoMo Preservation, a group dedicated to preserving historic places and spaces.

The meeting will be held in the Friends Room of the Columbia Public Library.

All meetings of CoMo Preservation are open to the public. Full disclosure: Dianna Borsi O’Brien, owner of is president of CoMo Preservation, an all-volunteer led nonprofit founded in May 2022.)

“The 2-mile trail,” said Horrell, “marks often hidden or forgotten history and provides an opportunity to tell our story.”

Barbra Horrell

Horell is a Columbia native and a graduate of Douglass High School with a bachelor’s and master’s degree from MU. She retired from MU after more than 40 years there, holding positions at the medical school, the veterinary school as well as in recruitment and student retention.

The group that created the African American Heritage Trail started by unearthing and marking the history of Sharp End, Columbia’s African-American business and housing center that was destroyed in the 1960s through urban renewal efforts. 

After marking the Sharp End locations in 2016, the all-volunteer group went to mark at least 23 other locations. Three more are ready for placement in the spring of 2023.

In addition to her Trail leadership, Horrell serves on the J.W. Boone Foundation board, the COMO Magazine board of directors, the Boone County Historical Society’s board of directors and was a member of the CoMo 200 Bicentennial Taskforce appointed by the mayor to plan the celebration of Columbia’s 2021 200th anniversary.

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