President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 declared that all persons held as slaves in the rebellious states were free, but the proclamation was more a statement and a promise than effective emancipation.
In Missouri, General Frémont's declaration of martial law included a provision for the immediate emancipation of the slaves of Missouri Confederates, although the president had chosen not to interfere with slavery in border states and quickly rescinded Frémont's measure. In January 1865 the Missouri Constitutional Convention passed an ordinance to end slavery in the state. This Missouri act passed three weeks before the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that brought an end to slavery in the nation.
Emancipation did not mean that African Americans were considered equal with other Americans. Although the 14th Amendment, passed in 1868, guaranteed citizenship, protection, and other rights for black men, American society was overwhelmingly reluctant to accept former slaves as equals.