House Concurrent Resolution No. 37




            WHEREAS, the Lucille H. Bluford Branch of the Kansas City Pubilc Library stands as a tribute to one of the city's most accomplished and beloved individuals; and


            WHEREAS, from Bluford's early days as a student at Lincoln High School and the University of Kansas to her long and distinguished career at The Kansas City Call, the black newspaper founded in 1919, Bluford used her journalistic talents to champion civil rights and strengthen the African-American community; and


            WHEREAS, in 1939, Bluford applied to the University of Missouri's graduate program in journalism. Bluford had a successful career and didn't need further training, but she saw an opportunity to challenge segregation in public universities; and


            WHEREAS, though the University of Missouri journalism program accepted Bluford based on mailed transcripts, when she showed up to enroll officials saw she was black and denied her entrance because state law restricted black students to Lincoln University in Jefferson City, a historically black university; and


            WHEREAS, with the support of the NAACP, Bluford sued the University of Missouri. In 1940 her case reached the Missouri Supreme Court, which ruled that the University had to admit her because no equal program existed at Lincoln University; and


            WHEREAS, in response, the University of Missouri School of Journalism closed its graduate program, claiming it could not operate properly because a majority of its professors and students were serving in World War II; and


            WHEREAS, in 1984 Bluford received the University of Missouri esteemed Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism from the School of Journalism and in 1989 an honorary doctorate in humanities; and


            WHEREAS, after becoming editor in 1955 and later serving as part-owner and publisher, Bluford made The Kansas City Call one of the largest and most important black newspapers in the nation; and


            WHEREAS, Bluford took her role as a leader in the African-American community seriously, even once scolding then-presidential candidate Jesse Jackson before a crowd of 7,000 people for visiting Kansas City without first notifying the black media; and


            WHEREAS, over the course of five decades, Bluford and the newspaper she led took a decisive stand on hundreds of important issues. Bluford's editorials supported the boycott of local department store lunchrooms that prohibited black patrons, mourned the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the subsequent civil unrest, and supported the election of Kansas City's first African-American congressman, Alan Wheat, and first African-American mayor, Emanuel Cleaver II; and


            WHEREAS, through her bold stands, her determination to expose racism, and her clear and forceful journalistic writing, Lucille Bluford helped change the way African-Americans are treated, especially in the area of higher education:


            NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the members of the House of Representatives of the Ninety-seventh General Assembly, First Regular Session, the Senate concurring therein, hereby recognize July 1, 2013, as "Lucille Bluford Day" in Missouri and encourage the citizens of this state to observe the day with appropriate activities and events in honor of a brave and persistent civil rights activist.