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Lloyd Gaines and the Fight to End Segregation

Presented by:
James W. Endersby
William T. Horner

Publish Date:
Thursday, February 16, 2017, 7 p.m.

Presentation Length:
48 minutes 40 seconds (48:40)

In 1935, the University of Missouri School of Law denied African-American Lloyd Gaines’ application for admission based on race. With the assistance of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Gaines brought suit against the school in Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada (1938). The case eventually reached the U.S. Supreme Court where the decision in Gaines favor was the first from that body to question the separate but equal principle upheld by Plessy v. Ferguson (1896). The court found that students of all races were eligible for admission if only one state school offered the desired education. The case drew national headlines, and public enmity towards the decision resulted in the NAACP moving Gaines to Chicago after he received several death threats. He later mysteriously vanished before enrolling. In their new book, Lloyd Gaines and the Fight to End Segregation, authors James W. Endersby and William T. Horner focus on the vital role played by the NAACP and its lawyers in advancing a concerted strategy to produce political change. Their work sheds light on this important step toward the broad acceptance of segregation as inherently unequal.


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