Missouri’s historic buildings tell the stories of the diverse spectrum of people who have lived in our state for hundreds of years. The variety of resources left by these groups enhances our understanding of Missouri’s history.
African-Americans have played a significant role in the development of Missouri, and they have left numerous resources to tell their part of the story. Many of these resources reflect the era of segregation, when African-Americans studied, shopped, and healed in buildings separate from the white community. Although segregation brought an end to discriminatory practices, the many buildings erected during this period remind us of a less than ideal time in our past. Often vacant or underutilized these buildings need to be preserved so that we can remember the complete story of Missouri’s history.
Schools built to educate Missouri’s African-American children are one particular type of historic building that is endangered across the state. Largely abandoned following the end of segregation, many have not found a new function and now face the threat of demolition due to years of neglect. It is important to save these buildings to remind us how through education we can teach current and future generations about the great cost of segregation, and the universal passion and desire for learning.