The Civil War in Missouri

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The Artifact Gallery was made possible by a generous gift from the William T. Kemper Foundation – Commerce Bank, Trustee.

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A Scene at the Sanitary Fair in St. Louis 

Clipping from the New York Freeman’s Journal, 1864
MHM Archives

Black patrons were not always welcome to participate in the festivities. When Reverend Henry Nelson and two black associates requested service in the fair’s Café Laclede, the white waitresses refused to serve the group, and Nelson and his companions were removed from the fairgrounds. The incident reaffirmed that while many people accepted blacks in roles as laborers and recipients of aid, they were not ready to admit them as equals into white society.