Lucile Bluford

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JEFFERSON CITY - For the first year ever, July 1 in Missouri will be known as "Lucile Bluford Day."

Lucile Bluford was an influential African-American journalist who worked for the Kansas City Call for decades. Bluford was involved in a legal case with the University of Missouri that eventually opened its doors to minority students.

Bluford's day of recognition took three years to get voted into effect. Missouri House Representative Gail McCann Beatty, D-Kansas City was the one who created the bill, which was signed on July 14, 2016.

"Lucile Bluford is kind of someone that I knew of growing up, but had not really known the history behind her," McCann Beatty said. "I always knew that she was a very well respected journalist, but what I didn't know was how active she was involved in the civil rights movement."

Bluford is well known for working to eradicate racial segregation at the University of Missouri. Bluford was accepted to the university's journalism school, but was not allowed to register for classes when the school found out her race. 

Bluford was given the Missouri Honor Medal in 1984, the journalism school's highest award, for her work in the field of journalism.

"You have to understand your past and history is destined to repeat itself if you don't know your history," McCann Beatty said. "Learning about her, her challenges on the MU Columbia campus, a lot of things that we were starting to see on campus, it just seemed like this was an important time to honor her."

Bluford died in 2003 at age 91.

McCann Beatty has been working on adding Bluford into the Hall of Famous Missourians. She said she hopes Bluford wlll be added to the hall in the next year or so.