"Substantially Equal" Lloyd Gaines and Legal Efforts for Desegregation in Missouri Higher Education

James W. Endersby, coauthor of Lloyd Gaines and the Fight to End Segregation, shares a story of legal strategy and personal sacrifice to ensure equal rights for all Missourians. In 1935 Lloyd Gaines, a young black student from St. Louis, applied to the University of Missouri Law School and was denied because of his race. Gaines and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People challenged the university’s decision. Three years later the landmark Supreme Court decision Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada ruled that race could not be used to deny equality of educational opportunity. This strategic victory for civil rights made national headlines, but Gaines disappeared under mysterious circumstances before he could attend law school.

Presented on

About the Presenter

James W. Endersby

Dr. James W. Endersby, an Associate Professor of political science at the University of Missouri-Columbia, has been with the department since 1991. He received his Ph.D. in 1990 from the University of Texas and specializes in American political behavior, specifically voting and elections, formal political theory, and research methods. His work has appeared in the Journal of Politics, Electoral Studies, Political Communication, and Social Science Quarterly with his colleague, C. William T. Horner. He wrote Lloyd Gaines and the Fight to End Segregation, which is published by the University of Missouri Press. It is the first book to focus entirely on the Gaines case and the vital role played by the NAACP and its lawyers, who advanced a concerted strategy to produce political change. This book uncovers an important step toward the broad acceptance of the principle that racial segregation is inherently unequal.