An active and ambitious civil rights movement was present in Missouri as early as 1819, when protests broke out over the Missouri Compromise. Yet the state’s role in our nation’s quest for racial equality has often been overlooked, even though it spearheaded some of the most decisive Supreme Court cases in our country’s civil rights history. Perhaps one of the most momentous cases occurred in 1857 when Dred Scott v. John F.A. Sandford indirectly motivated the American Civil War after the Supreme Court ruled that Scott, because he was not white, was not a citizen and therefore had no standing in federal court. In 1948, the U.S. Supreme Court case of Shelley v. Kraemer helped secure the right of African-Americans to equal housing. This case and others acted as catalysts for the pursuit of equality through the court system all across the country.

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