March 14, 1835

On this date in Missouri history, legislators pass a bill which reads, “all free persons of color had to apply for a freedom license.” That law meant that not only did African Americans have to apply for freedom, but they also had to prove they met the requirements to be free, which was nearly impossible.

The enduring legacy of Hiram Young

The story is familiar, replicated by scores of people living and working in Missouri in the 1800s. It goes something like this: a person starts from humble beginnings, takes big risks in moving west to pursue new opportunities, starts simple and builds a trade or business, employs many people, offers essential products or services that make life possible, and in the end not only enjoys success but becomes a benefactor for the common good.
Those stories are common. What is rare is a person who was born into slavery and then did all those things, like Hiram Young.