Little Known Facts
Slavery along the Missouri River in what is now the Kansas City metro area was not the slavery of Gone With The Wind.
University of Missouri-Kansas City history professor Diane Mutti-Burke, who has written extensively about slavery in Missouri, says slave owners tended to have less than 20 slaves. Those with more than 20 are historically defined as "plantations."
While they may have been smaller operations than in the deep South, they were equally inhumane.
"It's really disturbing," says Mutti-Burke. "There was advertising, you see it in Missouri papers. Speculators, or 'slavers' as they were known, coming to Missouri to purchase people cheaply and take them down to New Orleans and sell them."
Slave history is hard to document and verify. Historians piece together oral histories, newspaper accounts, advertisements, census data and personal papers. But remaining physical evidence exists. Source