Missouri State Archives
Guide to African American History
Record Group 550: General Assembly (1821-Present)
In 1867, Pike County's African American citizens petitioned the state legislature for legal equality. The petition reads: "The undersigned citizens of the County of Pike respectfully present, That after long and wearisome years of toil and Servitude, during which we had no volition or will of our own, but were Subject to the will of our masters, and during which time, our position under the law was a kind of medium between that of men and that of brutes, being treated under that law as men so far as the punishment for crime was concerned, but as brutes so far as any personal rights or privileges were concerned. We respectfully ask that as Missouri was first in striking off the shackles of slavery that she shall also be first in the sisterhood of States that have participated in the Evil, in removing all legal distinctions of whatever kind on account of race or color."