Missouri State Archives
Guide to African American History
State Government Documents Collection
The Missouri State Archives is a full and permanent depository in the State Documents Depository Program administered by the Missouri State Library. State documents designated as "core" documents are distributed to all full and partial depository libraries. The purpose of the core collection is to provide a group of basic state publications that answer many questions about state government, state agencies, and Missouri. Documents are chosen for their value in providing statistics, directory information, or news on important issues. Additional publications not on the core list are distributed to full depositories; these include items from divisions within state agencies. The State Government Documents collection at the Archives consists of printed materials produced by the various state agencies. This could include annual/biennial reports, brochures, newsletters, fact sheets, monthly or quarterly journals, audits, special reports, etc.
The documents date from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. Much of the information is about specific organizations or institutions required by law to report to the state. Obviously, many institutions and businesses may have been organized to assist African Americans during periods when segregation was the practice. Without identifying language in their business names, though, it is difficult to recognize these institutions and their role in the lives of black Missourians; accordingly, this guide is limited in that regard at this time. A great deal of the information in the various document collections is statistical in nature, and it can be helpful when researching trends in issues of health, housing, employment, and more. Placing these trends in context can provide some understanding about the lives of African Americans at different times in the state's history.
Record Group 000: Office of the Governor Documents Collection, Economic Development and Jobs, 1972 - 1997; arranged chronologically.
This collection of documents contains information about minority business activity in Missouri in the following reports: "Governor's Commission on Minority Business: Rural Minority Business," (c1987) and "Governor's Commission on Minority Business: Report to the Legislature on Minority Business Development, 1987."
Record Group 000: Department of Corrections Documents Collection, 1879 - Present.
This collection of documents contains a number of series consisting primarily of published reports, informational bulletins, and newsletters. The state's correctional institutions have operated under various titles; all are brought together in this collection. Reports from the following are included: Board of Inspectors of the Missouri Penitentiary, Department of Penal Institutions, Department of Corrections, and various training schools. The reports provide a variety of information, including statistics regarding race in various penal institutions. Most list number of inmates, race, crime, former occupation, nativity, and other personal information, as well as fiscal information for the various institutions, including industry figures and production reports.
Separate reports are available for training schools operated by the correctional department. The Biennial Reports, Missouri Training School for Boys at Boonville, (1895/96 - 1915/16) detail activities of the school created by the General Assembly in 1887; it opened in 1889. Experts in the field felt that a combination of work, education, and industrial training was the key to reformation of juvenile offenders. The training school was designed, therefore, to influence reformation and focused its efforts to that end, rather than punishment. Annual reports to the General Assembly indicate census, nativity, religion, offense, and various statistics regarding farm and industry production. The school maintained segregated housing for the boys. Reports from the Missouri Negro Industrial Commission further explain segregation practices at the school.
In addition, the Biennial Reports of the State Board of Charities and Corrections (1899 - 1932) are useful in understanding the role of this board as it oversaw county poorhouses, almshouses, orphaned or neglected children, and the state's aged and infirm.
Record Group 000: Department of Elementary & Secondary Education Documents Collection, 1845 - Present
This collection of documents includes a number of series consisting primarily of published reports, surveys, directories, and various statistics. Annual Reports of Common Schools, later Annual Reports of Public Schools, are available from 1845 to the present. The 1867 report is the first to address schools for African American children in Missouri (a result of the 1865 Constitution). Other nineteenth century reports include information about associations for African American teachers; Lincoln Institute (later University); statistical information for both white and "colored" schools; aggregate statistics from county reports; condensed reports from county commissioners about local schools, including the number of black schools, number of pupils, etc. In most cases, fiscal information is in the aggregate and does not reflect spending differences between white and black schools that may have existed. Early twentieth century reports encompass "Negro Education," as far as enrollment statistics, number of teachers, name and location of high schools. By mid-century, and the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision, the annual report included a paragraph reflecting integration of Missouri's public schools. Late twentieth century reports are primarily financial in nature, but also include assessment results, school classification statistics; the reports are primarily based on gender, not race. Eliminating the "achievement gap" is paramount to educators at the turn of the 21st century. This gap is traditionally associated with children of minority groups or those who are at an economic disadvantage.
Other series in this collection that may be of use in studying race in Missouri education include the School Laws of Missouri, 1883 - 1992, based on relevant chapters in the Revised Statutes of the State of Missouri. The News Releases series (1972 to present) may be useful in locating information about specific educational initiatives, including the 1980s move toward inner-city school desegregation; an index is available beginning in 1974. The series of School Improvement and Educational Reform Programs (1984 to present) is helpful in understanding the desire to eliminate the "achievement gap." The Division of Instruction series has some informative reports, including "A Suggestive Outline for the Study of the Negro in History," a curriculum guide published in 1941. Several other reports are available in the Educational Objectives/Special Initiatives series (1944 to present). These include "Four Years of Progress with Missouri Public Schools for the Negro," published in 1939, and "Raising the Bar - Closing the Gap: Recommendations for Improving the Academic Achievement of African American Students in Missouri," published in 1997. The 1980s push for desegregation resulted in some studies, including "St. Louis Metropolitan Voluntary Desegregation Transportation Program: 1985 - 1989."
The Department of Education employed an Inspector of Negro Schools beginning in 1921. The position was maintained until around 1958, with the title changing to Supervisor of Negro Education. Some information about this position is available in the Official Manual of the State of Missouri for relevant years, including brief paragraphs about "Negro Education" in the 1947-1948, 1949-1950, and 1951-1952 manuals.
Record Group 000: General Assembly Documents Collection, Journal of the House of Representatives andJournal of the Senate, 1821 - Present; arranged chronologically.
There are many pieces of legislation relating to the life of African American Missourians - from slavery to civil rights and more. The course of this legislation can be traced through the journals, from its introduction to committee assignments to final disposition. This collection contains the printed journals published by the General Assembly at the conclusion of the legislative session. The series is incomplete. The journals do not contain verbatim transcripts of each day, but rather are brief minutes detailing the roll call, action on various bills, and messages from the governor or between the House and Senate. The journals also indicate when reports, resolutions, and petitions were brought to the General Assembly, either by legislators or by private citizens and groups, such as the petition for "Education of the Negro" presented by the Negro National Educational Congress to the House of Representatives in 1925. These materials, however, are not printed in their entirety. The journals are indexed. Roll call votes are included. Once specific legislation has been identified, researchers may wish to see the General Assembly collection for original bill packets.
Record Group 000: General Assembly Documents Collection, Missouri Negro Industrial Commission, 1918 - 1928; arranged chronologically.
The Missouri Negro Industrial Commission, concerned with the welfare of African Americans living in Missouri, was established February 12, 1918. The Commission existed until 1928, when its creating law expired. Its goal was to "improve Negro citizenship and conditions in Missouri, to reinforce the existing agencies for increased production, to better rural life and education, to encourage steadier employment, to lessen petty crime, to improve home life, health and general sanitary conditions." The Archives maintains annual reports of the Commission, printed in the appendices of the House and Senate Journals. These reports address black education, Lincoln University, the state's industrial home for Negro girls, boys' reformatory, farm labor and rural life conditions, eleemosynary institutions, migration from southern states, African American employment, and more. The 1921-1922 report includes lynching statistics (1889 to 1921) that indicate name, date, place, and alleged cause. Each report contains numerous statistics and charts, offering a look at the lives of African Americans in Missouri during this decade.
Record Group 000: General Assembly Documents, Reports, 1991 - 2001.
In addition to the House and Senate journals, miscellaneous reports and program audits generated by Legislative Research staff or legislative committees are maintained in this collection. These include the "Final Report of the Joint Interim Committee on School Desegregation and Finance, 1997," as well as other statements about health care, adoption, juvenile justice, and more.
Record Group 000: Department of Health Documents Collection, 1883 to Present
This collection contains a variety of documents relating to the health care and health conditions of the citizens and the state. Many of the series are small and incomplete, making it difficult to reach definitive conclusions; however, many series are useful in understanding specific health issues of minority groups, including African Americans.
Some of the earliest records in this collection are from St. Louis and Kansas City boards of health. The Annual Report of the Health Commissioner of St. Louis (1883 - 1913) includes the category of race when compiling statistics for births, deaths, hospital treatments and discharge. While gender, age, and disease categories are more common, the race category assists in defining specific health trends. The annual reports of the Hospital and Health Board (1908 - 1919) of Kansas City contain the same type of information for that urban area.
Another series which utilizes a race category to identify health trends is that of the State Center for Health Statistics "Vital Statistics" (1921 - 1999). These annual statistics encompass births, deaths, and marriages in Missouri. Monthly statistics along the same line are available in the "Missouri Monthly Vital Statistics" newsletter (1969 - Present). In addition to providing monthly statistics of birth, death, and marriages, this newsletter targets specific health trends, delineated by race. The newsletter has focused on a number of issues, including birth weight, out-of-wedlock births, pregnant women who smoke, and rate of hospital admissions after birth.
The Division of Chronic Disease Prevention & Health Promotion has a number of publications targeted to African Americans, or reports identifying health trends by race, such as cardiovascular and pulmonary disease and cancer. Included are plans for controlling high blood pressure, brochures about sickle cell anemia, and a 1997 report entitled "The Prevalence of Diabetes among African-Americans in the City of St. Louis, Kansas City, and the Bootheel Region of Missouri."
Record Group 000: Department of Higher Education Documents Collection, 1875 - Present
The Coordinating Board of Higher Education heads the Department of Higher Education; it was established in 1974. Documents in this collection, however, date from the nineteenth century. The various reports include a variety of demographic information; enrollment patterns; geographic distribution of students; and the economic, social, and cultural impact of higher education. The collection includes materials from the University of Missouri system, as well as the state's junior colleges.
In addition, this collection contains material relating to Lincoln Institute, later Lincoln University. Lincoln University was founded in 1866 by the enlisted men and officers of the 62nd and 65th United States Colored infantries. It was designed to meet the educational needs of African Americans after the Civil War. In September 1954, the university expanded its historical mission to embrace the needs of a broader population, including varied social, economic, and cultural backgrounds. This series contains various annual reports for Lincoln Institute, as well as miscellaneous bulletins and directories.
Record Group 000: Department of Labor & Industrial Relations Documents Collection, Missouri Commission on Human Rights, 1880 - Present
The Department of Labor administers programs that provide an income contribution for workers to offset loss of job due to injury or layoff. The Department also undertakes mediation; regulates wages; promotes safe working environments; enforces Missouri's anti-discriminatory statutes in the areas of housing, employment, and public accommodation; promotes equal access and full participation for persons with disabilities; and investigates allegations of workers' compensation fraud and noncompliance.
Annual reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (1880 - 1951) offer facts and information relating to the industrial condition of the state and the economic issues of the day. Labor statisticians kept track of foreign immigration into the state; some of these statistics include race and/or country of origin.
Annual reports from the Workers Compensation Commission (1925 - 1975) present data regarding injuries suffered on the job. The earliest reports indicate injury by race and nationality, as well as occupation.
A key group of records in this collection is that of the Missouri Commission on Human Rights. This group includes annual reports, newsletters, and miscellaneous publications produced by the Commission from its inception through the present. The annual reports detail complaint procedures, local level legislation, discrimination cases and disposition, and summarizes education and affirmative action activities. Among the publications are included "A Report on Racial/Ethnic Characteristics of Professional Schools in Missouri," "A Resource Manual on Affirmative Action in Employment," and "Equal Employment Opportunities in Missouri State Agencies: A Survey of Negro Employment."
Record Group 000: Department of Mental Health Documents Collection, 1920 - Present
The Department of Mental Health was established in 1974, though functions of the department date back to 1847 (referring to state eleemosynary institutions). There are three principal missions defined by state law, including the treatment, prevention, and improving public understanding of mental disorders, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse.
The annual reports submitted by various state hospitals often include gender and race in compiling patient population statistics. The reports are primarily focused on mental disorder by gender and age, however.
There are a few publications that address African American issues, including "Affirmative Action Standards and Operating Guidelines" from the 1970s and an undated report, "Concepts in Afrocentricity."
Record Group 000: Department of Natural Resources Documents Collection, Division of State Parks, 1964 - Present
The Division of State Parks acquires, develops, and manages state parks and historic sites. State historic sites commemorate events or structures of statewide historical importance and honor persons of state and national significance. Restoration is a key element of developing these sites; in addition, sign interpretation, guided tours, exhibits, and booklets are also available.
Included in this collection of Division of State Parks publications are newsletters, annual reports, and various printed guides. A small segment of the collection is devoted to Missouri's African American historic sites, including the Ville in St. Louis, as well as historic and photographic surveys of black historic sites across the state.
Record Group 000: Department of Public Safety, Office of the Director, 1968 - Present
The Department of Public Safety is responsible for coordinating statewide law enforcement, criminal justice, and public safety efforts for Missouri's citizens. The Director of Public Safety is appointed by the governor and responsible for developing public safety programs, peace officer training and certification, and as well as distribution of state and federal resources and funds for narcotics control, victims' assistance, crime prevention, and juvenile justice.
Reports and publications from the Missouri Conference on Juvenile Justice (1974-1981) appear in the administrative files of the director's office. Included also are surveys of juvenile detention in Missouri, newsletters, and reports from the Juvenile Justice Review Committee (1981-1994) and Juvenile Justice Advisory Group (1978-1990), such as "An Analysis of Apparent Disparities in the Handling of Black Youth Within Missouri's Juvenile Justice Systems."
Record Group 000: Department of Social Services Documents Collection, 1946 - Present
This Department of Social Services works to ensure the health and safety of children and to aid those in need of financial assistance in reaching social and economic self-sufficiency. A number of social programs operate within the department, which is mandated with efficiently administering federal, state, and local funds.
The Annual Reports (1946-Present) series includes primarily financial statements regarding the disbursement of funds to various programs, including Aid to Dependent Children, Old Age Assistance, soldiers homes, and assistance to the blind. Some institutions receiving funds include child-caring/child-placing agencies and maternity homes and hospitals. Through the early 1960s, several of these institutions were segregated as homes for "colored," and listed as such. A county breakdown of information about clients and funds is more common in the reports.
The Annual Reports series in the Division of Youth Services sub-group (1974-Present) also provide information broken down by race, as well as age and gender, primarily in identifying trends in commitment (refers to "minority" or "nonwhite"). In the same sub-group, the Juvenile Court Statistics series (1946-Present) includes statistics by race, such as number of adoptions, type of offense/allegation, and total number of children referred by courts.