Missouri Makes Amends to Journalist Denied University Admission in 1939

Earlier this month, the state of Missouri celebrated the first Lucile Bluford Day. The celebration honored the work of the noted journalist and made amends for the fact that she was denied admission to graduate program in journalism at the University of Missouri.

In 1939, Bluford, who was a graduate of the University of Kansas and had worked as a reporter for the Kansas City American and the Kansas City Call, applied to and was accepted into the Missouri School of Journalism. However, when she arrived on campus and officials discovered that Bluford was an African American, she was not permitted to enroll.

Bluford was told to apply instead to Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri. At the time Bluford had more journalism experience than two of the three journalism faculty members at Lincoln University. After a two-year legal battle, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled that Bluford should be admitted to the Missouri School of Journalism. But due to a shortage of students during the Word War era, the university suspended graduate enrollments. Bluford never enrolled at the university. She worked for the Kansas City Call for 70 years

In 1989, Bluford received an honorary doctorate from the University of Missouri. She died in 2003.


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