For too many years Missouri, like most other states in the nation, had standards – written or unwritten – which would not allow people of differing races to use the same hospitals, barber and beauty shops, hotels or motels, water fountains, cemetaries or bathrooms. But in 1954 came the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on desegregation of the schools. Three years later the Missouri General Assembly passed a bill creating the Missouri Commission on Human Rights. It was originally intended as an educational agency. It could investigate instances of discrimination, but only hope to foster mutual respect between the parties involved. Governor James Blair spoke of the commission as “a dream I have had for years.”

AUDIO: AOWM June 8, 2005 (mp3)