Snowflakes, Claybanks, and Charcoals in Wartime Missouri
In Missouri in the early 1860s, a “Snowflake” was a person who was opposed to the abolition of slavery—the implication of the name being that such people valued white people over black people. The Snowflakes hoped slavery would survive the country’s civil war, and were contrasted with two other groups. The Claybanks (whose name came from the colorless color of the local terrestrial clay) wanted a gradual transition out of slavery for slaves, with eventual freedom accompanied by compensation to slave owners; the Charcoals—who were also called Brown Radicals—wanted immediate emancipation and for black people to be able to enlist in the armed forces.
The available evidence suggests that this particular use of snowflake never moved much beyond the borders of Missouri or the era.