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MEDIA ADVISORY: Dedication ceremony will honor African-American leaders who shaped Mizzou’s history

Story Contact(s):
Liz McCune, mccunee@missouri.edu, 573-882-6212

WHAT:

The University of Missouri will dedicate the Lucile Bluford and George C. Brooks residence halls, and the Gus. T. Ridgel Atrium on Homecoming weekend. This event will recognize three African-American trailblazers who have significantly shaped Mizzou’s history. The dedication coincides with the Legion of Black Collegians 50th anniversary celebration.

WHO:

Lucile Bluford was a journalist and civil rights activist who applied to the University of Missouri journalism graduate program in 1939. After university officials refused to register her as a student, Bluford sued the university. In 1941, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled in her favor. However, MU temporarily closed its doors to all graduate students in 1942 due to a shortage of students during World War II. Bluford was never able to attend the university but was awarded an honorary doctorate in 1989 for her courage and determination.

George C. Brooks was a civil rights activist who grew up in Columbia during segregation and led the effort to desegregate local restaurants. Brooks went on to spend 17 years at MU as the director of financial aid. In 1987, the university named the George C. Brooks scholarship in his honor to improve recruitment and retention of students from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups. MU has welcomed more than 1,000 Brooks scholars to date.

Gus T. Ridgel was MU’s first African-American student to earn a graduate degree, following a 1950 admissions lawsuit against the university. Ridgel completed his master’s degree in economics in one year. His impact with the university lives on through the Gus. T. Ridgel Fellowship, which provides funding for underrepresented minority graduate students.

WHEN and WHERE:

2 – 4 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 19
Lucile Bluford Residence Hall
502 Kentucky Blvd.

The dedication will start at 2 p.m. with tours of the residence halls. Remarks will begin at 3 pm. in the courtyard between Brooks and Bluford halls, followed by light refreshments in the Ridgel Atrium.

NOTE:

In the event of rain, the dedication ceremony will move to the Ridgel Atrium inside the Restaurants at Southwest.

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