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For more than 40 years this house was home to the Birthrights, former slaves who achieved economic independence and prosperity while building close ties with the families that had held them in slavery and the predominantly white citizenry of Clarkerton and Dunklin Counties. This barber and seamstress amassed substantial wealth from highly successful commercial and farming operations. Though not civil rights activists in the common definition of the phrase, the couple's economic and civic contributions to Clarkton and Dunklin County contradicted the popular image of blacks as indolent, undisciplined and unworthy of the full rights of American citizens. The Birthrights represent an aspect of history rarely studied in Missouri or the United States—African Americans who were well respected and accepted members of the larger white community during a period when racism was the social norm. The period of significance is 1872 -1917, the time span during which the Birthrights owned and lived in the house and made their greatest contributions to the local community.

  • Charles and Bettie Birthright