KANSAS CITY, Mo. — She was a trailblazer in her time. Lucile Bluford was a powerful voice.
“Lucile Bluford regularly used her journalistic voice in her news stories and in her commentary to break down barriers and inequalities and injustices not only against women but against blacks,” author Sheila Brooks said.
Her activism began in 1939 when the young reporter applied and was accepted to the University of Missouri’s journalism school graduate program. But when she went to enroll, she was turned away.
Her fight for equality would go all the way to the Missouri Supreme Court.
But her journalism work as a reporter, editor and publisher have also left behind a lasting legacy in the Kansas City area and Missouri.
“Lucile Bluford was with the Black press for more than 70 years,” Brooks said.
She focused on social, economic and political issues to inspire change in Kansas City.
Now, Brooks is highlighting Bluford’s tremendous efforts to right racial and gender inequality in a new book, “Lucile H. Bluford and the Kansas City Call: Activist Voice for Social Justice.”
After studying women in the Civil Rights movement, Brooks looked at the stories being told and decided to focus on those going untold. That led her to Bluford.
“She did not let her race or her gender or her social stature stop her from achieving anything that she wanted to achieve, and she always wrote that in her stories,” Brooks said.
Bluford’s work at The Call, Kansas City’s prominent Black newspaper, shows the importance of why personal experiences and struggles for Black people and women need to be heard.
“It propels us to know about the issues that are going on in the African American community, that we address the issues of racism and sexism so that we can have a conversation,” Brooks said.
Brooks hopes it will help us learn our history to better understand current issues going on throughout the United States.
“If we don’t tell Lucille’s story and we don’t know about that narrative of what has happened in the past, we’re not going to be able to bridge that gap for the future,” Brooks said.
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