Black History Month: KC civil rights activist & journalist Lucile H. Bluford

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Growing up in Kansas City, Lucile Bluford was a great student and knew from a very young age she wanted to be a journalist.

She couldn’t attend the University of Missouri journalism school because it wouldn’t admit African-American students, so she attended KU.

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According to the State Historical Society of Missouri, after graduating she reported for the Daily World in Atlanta, Georgia, and eventually moved back to KC where she worked for the Kansas City American and then the Kansas City Call.

In 1939, Bluford applied and was accepted into to the University of Missouri graduate journalism program. However, when she went to enroll in classes she was turned away because she was black.

She tried a total of 11 times to get into the school.

After several lawsuits the state supreme court finally ruled in her favor. Instead of letting her in, the university ended up shutting down the program entirely.

Bluford did not let this hinder her journalism career.

She worked for the Kansas City Call for 70 years and helped it become one of the largest black newspapers in the nation.

Her writing helped changed the way African-Americans were treated, especially in higher education.

The University of Missouri eventually honored her. In 1984 she received an honor medal for distinguished service in journalism and an honorary doctorate in 1989.

It's Black History Month. Learn about other prominent African-Americans in the Kansas City area:

KC's first African-American mayor Emanuel Cleaver II

KC jazz pioneer Charlie "Bird" Parker

Hiram R. Revels, the first African-American in U.S. Congress

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