Timeline of Missouri's African American History

Missouri's African-American Historical Timeline 1877 - 1919
1877  Albert Burgess, probably St. Louis' first African American lawyer, opened his practice.
1883 The United State Supreme Court declared the Civil Rights Act of 1875, which forbade discrimination in places of public accommodation, unconstitutional; this left the validity of state segregation laws questionable until the Court's 1896 decision of "separate but equal" in Plessy v. Ferguson. Missouri did not pass segregation laws governing public accommodation though custom demanded it.
1884  The St. Louis Palladium, an African American newspaper, was founded.
1889  The Missouri General Assembly passed legislation ordering separate schools for children "of African descent" as part of the “Act to revise and amend…the Revised Statutes of Missouri of 1879 entitled ‘Of Schools’…” on May 28, 1889.
1890  On October 1, 1890, in Lehew v. Brummell, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled that segregated schools were not forbidden or in conflict with the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
1892  Prominent Black Missourians declared a national day of prayer and fasting on May 31, 1892 in response to nationwide lynching violence with over 1,500 people gathered in St. Louis.
1894 Walter Moran Farmer, the first Black attorney to graduate from Washington University-St. Louis, argued the case of Duncan vs. Missouri before the Missouri Supreme Court which was decided on May 30, 1893. He was the first Black attorney to argue before the court and was one of the first to argue before the United States Supreme Court where the case was appealed in 1894.
1896 The United States Supreme Court established the "separate but equal" doctrine in its Plessy v. Ferguson ruling, stating that requiring racial separation in public facilities did not violate the Fourteenth Amendment. 
1898  The Black 7th Regiment of the Immunes was mustered in at St. Louis for service in the Spanish-American war (September 16).
1902  James Langston Hughes was born in Joplin, Missouri; became one of America's best-known 20th century poets (February 1).
1906  Easter weekend lynchings in Springfield and the threat of more racial violence forced hundreds of African American families to flee the city (April 13).
1907  Nathaniel C. Bruce established the Bartlett Agricultural and Industrial School near Dalton in 1907. The school advocated vocational and agricultural training for Black youths. It was renamed the Dalton Vocational School in 1924 and closed in 1956.
1908  George L. Vaughn, Joseph E. Mitchell, Charles Turpin, and Homer G. Phillips formed the Citizens Liberty League to promote and endorse African American political candidates.
1910  St. Louis City citizens elected Charles Turpin constable of St. Louis’ Fourth District on November 8, 1910. Turpin became the first Black candidate elected to public office in Missouri.
1910  Dr. J.E. Perry established the Perry Sanitarium and Nurse Training Association in Kansas City, providing needed health services to black citizens.
1912  Joseph E. Mitchell, Sr. founded the St. Louis Argus.
1914  Publication of W.C. Handy's "St. Louis Blues," based on melodies he heard walking the streets of St. Louis.
1916  In their first use of St. Louis’s new city charter's initiative petition process, voters overwhelmingly passed a city-wide segregation ordinance on February 29, 1916 stating no one could move to a block of residences where 75% of people were another race. The U.S. Supreme Court Case decision in Buchanan v. Warley based in Louisville, Kentucky made ordinances like this unconstitutional the following year, but other racially restrictive covenants continued.
1916  The Missouri legislature established the Missouri Industrial Home for Negro Girls in Tipton.
1917  Clashes between black migrant workers and white factory workers led to a bloody race riot in East St. Louis, Illinois (June 30-July 2). Hundreds of African Americans fled across the Mississippi River, seeking shelter in St. Louis.
1918  The state legislature established the Missouri Negro Industrial Commission to improve the conditions of black Missourians (February 12). The Commission existed until 1928, when the legislation authorizing it expired.
1919 The Missouri General Assembly established the Missouri Negro Industrial Commission to improve the conditions of Black Missourians on June 3, 1919. The Commission provided recommendations for improvement of Black life in Missouri addressing education, rural life, migration from southern states, anti-lynching efforts, and employment issues and existed until 1928 when the legislation authorizing it expired.
1919  Chester A. Franklin founded the Kansas City Call.

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