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Lucile Bluford
Author: 
Henrietta Rix Wood

This essay analyzes Bluford’s initial reporting on her effort to enter MU, her commentary on her failed civil lawsuit in May 1942, and the announcement of the newspaper’s fundraising campaign for African American education in the same month. The facts of Bluford’s three-year crusade to enroll at MU are known: she repeatedly tried to enroll at the university and pursued three lawsuits, losing the last one in April 1942. The fact that she and The Call collaborated to influence readers’ responses to the quest for African American educational rights has not been acknowledged or analyzed.

Letter from U.S. Marshal H. L. Dillingham to Charles Seibold, U.S. District Court clerk, in Civil Cases No. 42 and No. 128: Lucile Bluford v. S.W. Canada, reporting on payments received from J. H. Polson and plaintiff's attorney Carl R. Johnson toward marshal's costs and expenses in the case. Dillingham writes that his records show the accounts in the case balance.

Date: 
May 28th 1942

Envelope with a handwritten note from the files for Civil Case No. 128: Lucile Bluford v. S. W. Canada. The writing, signed by court deputy clerk E. O'Keefe, notes "Summons issued Jan 7, 1942." At the time, Bluford was the managing editor of the Kansas City Call and her effort to gain admittance to the masters degree program at MU's School of Journalism, and repeated denials due to her race, lead to a a series of lawsuits that eventually reached the Missouri Supreme Court.

Date: 
January 7th 1942

Telegrams from the federal court clerk to Kenneth Teasdale, Carl R. Johnson, and A. D. Sappington in Civil Case No. 128: Lucile Bluford v. S.W. Canada, writing that Judge John C. Collet directs a Bluford motion to be continued from Saturday to an undecided future date. At the time, Bluford was the managing editor of the Kansas City Call and her effort to gain admittance to the masters degree program at MU's School of Journalism, and repeated denials due to her race, lead to a a series of lawsuits that eventually reached the Missouri Supreme Court.

Date: 
February 5th 1942

Civil subpoena issued in Civil Case No. 128: Lucile Bluford v. S.W. Canada to Thelma Berlack Boozer of Lincoln University. She is commanded to appear in District Court on April 23, 1942, as a witness for the plaintiff. At the time, Bluford was the managing editor of the Kansas City Call and her effort to gain admittance to the masters degree program at MU's School of Journalism, and repeated denials due to her race, lead to a a series of lawsuits that eventually reached the Missouri Supreme Court.

Date: 
April 21st 1942

Civil subpoena issued in Civil Case No. 128: Lucile Bluford v. S.W. Canada to Elliott J. Barnett of Lincoln University. He is commanded to appear in District Court on April 21, 1942, as a witness for the plaintiff. At the time, Bluford was the managing editor of the Kansas City Call and her effort to gain admittance to the masters degree program at MU's School of Journalism, and repeated denials due to her race, lead to a a series of lawsuits that eventually reached the Missouri Supreme Court.

Date: 
April 21st 1942

Civil subpoena issued in Civil Case No. 128: Lucile Bluford v. S.W. Canada to Rashey B. Moten of Lincoln University. He is commanded to appear in District Court on April 23, 1942, as a witness for the plaintiff. At the time, Bluford was the managing editor of the Kansas City Call and her effort to gain admittance to the masters degree program at MU's School of Journalism, and repeated denials due to her race, lead to a a series of lawsuits that eventually reached the Missouri Supreme Court.

Date: 
April 21st 1942

Civil subpoena duces tecum issued in Civil Case No. 128: Lucile Bluford v. S.W. Canada to Winfred A. Hamilton, business manager of Lincoln University. He is commanded to appear in District Court on April 23, 1942, as a witness for the plaintiff, and to produce all records from the business office from July 1, 1940 on related to the "establishment and operation" of the School of Journalism at Lincoln.

Date: 
April 21st 1942

Civil subpoena duces tecum issued in Civil Case No. 128: Lucile Bluford v. S.W. Canada to Mrs. Alberta Rankins, secretary to the board of curators of Lincoln University. She is commanded to appear in District Court on April 23, 1942, as a witness for the plaintiff, and to produce "all minutes and records of the board of curators" beginning in July 1940 related to the establishment of a school of journalism at Lincoln, as well as records and correspondence related to Lucile Bluford applying for graduate work in journalism.

Date: 
April 21st 1942

Civil subpoena duces tecum issued in Civil Case No. 128: Lucile Bluford v. S.W. Canada to Sherman D. Scruggs, president of Lincoln University.

Date: 
April 22nd 1942

Civil subpoena duces tecum issued in Civil Case No. 128: Lucile Bluford v. S.W. Canada to Roy McKittrick, Missouri attorney general. He is commanded to appear in District Court on April 23, 1942, as a witness for the plaintiff, and to produce "all data" that lead to his opinion about the timing of Lucile Bluford's application for graduate work in journalism and the existence of such a program.

Date: 
April 23rd 1942

Letter from defense attorney Rubey M. Hulen to the U.S. District Court clerk regarding Civil Case No. 128: Lucile Bluford v. S.W. Canada. Hulen writes that defendant Canda's full name is "Silas Woodson Canada." At the time, Bluford was the managing editor of the Kansas City Call and her effort to gain admittance to the masters degree program at MU's School of Journalism, and repeated denials due to her race, lead to a a series of lawsuits that eventually reached the Missouri Supreme Court.

Date: 
May 27th 1942

Complaint for deprivation of plaintiff's civil rights under color of state laws in Civil Case No. 128: Lucile Bluford v. S.W. Canada. The complaint alleges that the the refusal of admission of Bluford to the University of Missouri graduate journalism program by university registrar Canada constited a violation of her civil rights.

Date: 
December 13th 1941

Summons in Civil Case No. 128: Lucile Bluford v. S.W. Canada issued to defendant Canada, ordering a response to plaintiff's attorney Carl R. Johnson within 20 days. At the time, Bluford was the managing editor of the Kansas City Call and her effort to gain admittance to the masters degree program at MU's School of Journalism, and repeated denials due to her race, lead to a a series of lawsuits that eventually reached the Missouri Supreme Court.

Date: 
January 7th 1942

Letter from defense attorney William S. Hogsett to fellow defense attorneys Rubey M. Hulen to Kenneth Teasdale regarding Civil Case No. 128: Lucile Bluford v. S.W. Canada. He writes that he has noticed a typo in their response and asks that notification of the correct be made to the court and Bluford's attorney Carl R. Johnson.

Date: 
March 24th 1942

Letter from defense attorney William S. Hogsett to U.S. District Court deputy clerk Charles Seibold regarding Civil Case No. 128: Lucile Bluford v. S.W. Canada. Hogsett confirms receipt of Seibold's telegram informing him that Judge John Collet directed the Bluford motion be continued from Saturday to a future undecided date.

Date: 
February 6th 1942

Telegram from the federal court clerk to defense attorney William S. Hogsett in Civil Case No. 128: Lucile Bluford v. S.W. Canada, writing that Judge John C. Collet directs a Bluford motion to be continued from Saturday to an undecided future date. At the time, Bluford was the managing editor of the Kansas City Call and her effort to gain admittance to the masters degree program at MU's School of Journalism, and repeated denials due to her race, lead to a a series of lawsuits that eventually reached the Missouri Supreme Court.

Date: 
February 5th 1942

Letter from defense attorney William S. Hogsett to the U.S. District Court clerk in Civil Case No. 128: Lucile Bluford v. S.W. Canada. Hogsett writes that he is enclosing a defendant's motion to require the plaintiff to make changes to their statement under Rule 12(e). At the time, Bluford was the managing editor of the Kansas City Call and her effort to gain admittance to the masters degree program at MU's School of Journalism, and repeated denials due to her race, lead to a a series of lawsuits that eventually reached the Missouri Supreme Court.

Date: 
January 28th 1942

Letter from defense attorney Rubey M. Hulen to the U.S. District Court clerk in Civil Case No. 128: Lucile Bluford v. S.W. Canada. Hulen writes to enclose a form of order to extend time for pleas and filing an answer in the case, which he says he has discussed with Judge John Collet, and asks that Collet sign the order. A handwritten note at the bottom of the letter notes that Hulen has phoned and now wants to delay the order.

Date: 
January 21st 1942

Court order in Civil Case No. 128: Lucile Bluford v. S.W. Canada. Judge John Collet orders that, on application of the defendant, time is extended for the defendant to answer answer and plead to the original complaint. At the time, Bluford was the managing editor of the Kansas City Call and her effort to gain admittance to the masters degree program at MU's School of Journalism, and repeated denials due to her race, lead to a a series of lawsuits that eventually reached the Missouri Supreme Court.

Date: 
January 21st 1942

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KANSAS CITY PUBLIC LIBRARY | DIGITAL HISTORY
Civil War on the Western Border: The Missouri-Kansas Conflict,1855-1865.
The Pendergast Years, Kansas City in the Jazz Age & Great Depression.
KC History, Missouri Valley Special Collections at the Kansas City Public Library.