Monday, November 9, 2015

Research University MO. Student Protests 1959-2015

Across America, Students joined in the efforts
“Injustice for One is Injustice for All.”
 Although University of Missouri, Columbia, MO. students may believe that the current protests are unprecedented, it is far from being so.  MU's student body and student athletes have historically fought against racism, and injustice on both the local and national level.  Columbia, MO., shadowed by St. Louis to the east and Kansas City, MO to the west, has historically been a popular location for racial change and protest against injustice. 

3 Places to Research Student Protests History - Columbia, MO
Accounts of student protests for racial change can be found as early as 1959  - five years before the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In The State Historical Society of Missouri historical researchers can locate papers of the Columbia Chapter of Congress of Racial Equality (C.O.R.E.).  C.O.R.E.’s philosophy was “nonviolence in the fight to end segregation and discrimination.” The Columbia MO. chapter, members predominately local students and faculties, was most active from 1959 - 1964, over fifty years ago. The student driven organization fought the issues of segregation, discrimination and on-campus racism through “pickets, boycotts, demonstrations, fastings, and sit-ins.”

Few realize that in Columbia, MO there are two other change-makers: Stephens College and Columbia College. And in the past, standing as a collective group, students from these three campuses fighting and protesting racial issues and injustice has proven effective.

  1. Collection C2508, The Congress of Racial Equality Papers, contains constitutions of the national and local C.O.R.E., minutes, membership lists, clippings, and correspondence. It is not comprehensive, but a great source for Missouri researchers.
  2. Stephens College Archives, Columbia MO.
  3. Newspaper Research
 For information on St. Louis CORE chapter visit Dagen, Margaret and Irvin History of St. Louis Core Collection, 1941 - 2000, collection S0661 at the State Historical Society of Missouri.

Kansas City researchers may wish to begin by reading Leon Mercer Jordan, The Founder of Freedom, Inc. This manuscript can be located at the Missouri Valley Special Collections in the Missouri Public Library.

Student Fasting

Even students fasting for change, is not new in Columbia, MO.  There was a rather long and lengthy fasting movement involving the Stephens College women student body and the students from Mizzou in 1965, as well as their faculties. At that time the students were protesting U.S. involvement in Viet Nam, again under the banner of “injustice for one is injustice for all.”

Athlete Involvement
Even fifty years ago the athletes were pivotal participants in on-campus change.  One basketball player, self proclaimed “progressive white student” from south St. Louis, John Logsdon was the president of the Columbia, C.O.R.E. chapter, 1962 - 1963. Of course race relations has improved since Logsdon’s presidency of C.O.R.E.  In a reflective article written 13 Nov 2013, entitled Columbia’s Core, John speaks of the one black person, Malvin West (BS BA ’62) that was shunned in 1960: “No white student in the class would sit next to him.”  It was Malvin who invited Logsdon to his first C.O.R.E. meeting.

About Core
Logsdon’s account of the Columbia MO. C.O.R.E. chapter states that active students were “half black, half white; many of the white members were women from Stephens College.”  C.O.R.E was a national organization founded in 1942. Chapters of C.O.R.E worked and supported many other civil rights groups to desegregate public facilities, organized Freedom Rides, participate in the March on Washington, 1963, but in Columbia, MO, the local efforts concentrated on campus segregations at University of Missouri and student racism.   

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate, accessible answers

1 comment:

  1. John Logsdon contacted a3genealogy Kathleen Brandt today just to introduce himself and chat a bit about this post and #history. #genealogy