Lloyd Gaines Argues for Educational Equality in Missouri Before the United States Supreme Court Timelines: History of University of Missouri School of Law

In February of 1938, the Supreme Court of Missouri affirmed the School of Law’s decision to deny Mr. Gaines entry. The Supreme Court of the United States granted certiorari on Mr. Gaines’ case, Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada. On December 12, 1938, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the Missouri Supreme Court’s judgement remanding the case for further proceedings consistent with its opinion. The Supreme Court had determined that Mr. Gaines, and all other African-American students, had a right to pursue a legal education in the state of Missouri and instructed the University of Missouri to either admit Mr. Gaines or provide him with a comparable education within the state.

Rather than admit Mr. Gaines to the University of Missouri School of Law, the state of Missouri opened the Lincoln University School of Law in St. Louis, MO, which operated from 1939 to 1955. Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada paved the way for a number of following cases that appeared before the United States Supreme Court, culminating in the court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education, which outlawed segregation in public education.

For more information on Mr. Gaines, please visit the Lloyd L. Gaines Digital Collection at: https://scholarship.law.missouri.edu/gaines/.