Missouri Digital Heritage :: Collections :: African American History Initiative :: African American History Timeline

Missouri State Archives
Timeline of Missouri's African American History

1861  John C. Fremont issued a proclamation immediately emancipating the slaves of pro-Southern Missourians (August 30). The order was revoked by President Abraham Lincoln (September 11).
1862  The First Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry Regiment, including Missouri black soldiers, defeated a guerrilla force at Mound Island in Bates County, Missouri (October 29).
1863  President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing slaves in the seceded states. The proclamation did not affect Missouri's slaveholders (January 1).
1863  Recruiting for the first African American Missouri regiment began at Schofield Barracks in St. Louis (June). Over 300 enlisted in the First Regiment of Missouri Colored Infantry, which became the 62nd U.S. Regiment of Colored Infantry.

Harpers Weekly. Used with permission of the State Historical Society of Missouri

1863  President Abraham Lincoln ordered that all black men, aged twenty to forty-five, in healthy condition, be allowed to enlist in the armed forces (July 31).
1864  John William "Blind" Boone, an accomplished ragtime musician, was born in Miami, Missouri (May 17).
1865  George Washington Carver was born on a Newton County farm; he later became a nationally recognized scientist (Spring).
1865  On January 11, delegates to the 1865 constitutional convention in St. Louis passed an ordinance abolishing slavery in Missouri; only four delegates voted against it. The ordinance passed three weeks before the United States Congress proposed the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, abolishing slavery.
1865  The Missouri General Assembly passed legislation requiring that all persons held as slaves who cohabited as man and wife be married legally; slave marriages prior to this act were not legally recognized (February 20).
1865  The Western Sanitary Commission, a St. Louis-based relief organization for war refugees, operated a high school for African Americans. The Commission also organized classes for black soldiers at Benton Barracks.
1865  Missouri African American leaders organized the Missouri Equal Rights League (October). Considered Missouri's first black political activist movement, League members fought for legal equality, placing great emphasis on education and voting.
1865  The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, abolishing slavery, was ratified (December 18).
1866  Lincoln Institute (later Lincoln University), founded by African American soldiers, was incorporated as an institution for black students in Missouri (April 16).
1868  The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, providing for equal protection of the law to all citizens, was ratified (July 28).
1868  Scott Joplin, the "King of Ragtime" was born in Texas (November 24). As an adult, he moved to Sedalia where he published "Maple Leaf Rag" in 1899; he later lived in St. Louis and performed at the 1904 World's Fair.
1868  The federal Freedman's Bureau established the St. Louis branch of the National Freedmen's Savings and Trust Company.
1870  The Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, giving the right to vote to all citizens regardless of race, color, or previous condition of servitude, was ratified (March 30).
1875  The new Missouri Constitution provided for separate school facilities for black and white children. This forced St. Louis school board members to establish Sumner High School for African American students.

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