This presentation highlights the relationship between races and laws during the nineteenth century. Focus is on black Missourians’ legal encounters and struggles for full citizenship. Many black Missourians utilized the justice system to overcome restrictive laws. In doing so, they engaged in a radical form of resistance of their condition by continuing to use courts to fight for their rights. These judicial efforts were a part of a larger historical trend in which black southerners utilized the justice system in an attempt to radically solidify their claims as citizens and protect their families and property.