Former Gov. Warren Hearnes’
Impact on Prohibiting Discrimination in Missouri
Former Missouri Gov. Warren Hearnes
signs the state’s first civil rights act into law.
On Oct. 13, 1965, Missouri Gov. Warren E. Hearnes signed Missouri’s first civil rights act, a public accommodations bill sponsored in the House by a young state representative named Mel Carnahan. The Public Accommodations Act (later incorporated into the Missouri Human Rights Act, Chapter 314 RSMo) prevented discrimination in places of public accommodations because of race, creed, color, religion, national origin or ancestry. However, it did exclude certain barber and beauty shops. The year 1965 also resulted in amendments to the Fair Employment Practices Act [now part of the Missouri Human Rights Act] to include: all apprenticeship programs and sex as a protected class.
Gov. Hearnes was the first Missouri governor to serve two successive terms (Jan. 11, 1965 - Jan. 8, 1973). He died August 16, 2009, in Charleston, Mo.
For more information about the Missouri Human Rights Act, visit www.labor.mo.gov/mohumanrights.