As a renowned lecturer, clubwoman, and suffragist, Ida Bowman Becks led the local African American community in the pursuit of equality.
Sumner High School English teacher Rebecca L. Bloodworth was born in Bethpage, Tennessee, received her bachelor’s degree from Atlanta University, and earned a master’s in English from Columbia University.
Bluford served as editor of The Kansas City Call for nearly 50 years and played an important role in the major civil rights battles of the 20th century.
Richard Thomas Coles was an educator who focused on teaching manual arts — practical, job-related skills — to his students. He was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1859 to parents who instilled the value of education.
Hugh O. Cook, one of the longest-serving principals of Lincoln High School in Kansas City, Missouri, was born in Washington, D.C., graduated from Cornell University, and taught at Normal A&M College in Huntsville, Alabama.
Crosthwaite was one of the first African American social workers in Kansas City and spent decades working to improve health care for the local Black community.
Educator Eugene Eubanks championed equal opportunities for Black students and fought to desegregate Kansas City, Missouri, public schools. Raised in Meadville, Pennsylvania, Eubanks showed an early interest in and aptitude for mathematics.
Sixteen years before the landmark case Brown v. Board of Education ended legal segregation in schools, Lloyd Gaines fought a court battle to attend the University of Missouri.
John A. Hodge, the longest-serving principal of Sumner High School in Kansas City, Kansas, was born in Shelbyville, Indiana, and received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physics from Indiana University.
Anna H. Jones was born in Canada and graduated from Oberlin College, a private Ohio school noted for having been the first American institution of higher learning to regularly admit Black students.
Joelouis Mattox’s dream as a young man was to teach high school history. Military service altered his course, but history — the pursuit and preservation of Kansas City’s African American past — remained a lifelong calling.
Corinthian Clay Nutter was a teacher who fought to expand educational opportunities for her students. She was born in Forney, Texas. Her family relocated frequently as her parents sought work, and Nutter had to drop out of school at age 14.
Melvin B. Tolson became the first Poet Laureate of the Republic of Liberia. Born in Moberly, Missouri, Tolson spent his junior and senior years at Kansas City’s Lincoln High School.
Bishop William T. Vernon served twice in leadership positions — including president — at Western University in Quindaro, Kansas, the first African American college founded west of the Mississippi River.
From their first steps onto Diasporic soil, Africans in America, now African Americans, have recognized the importance of obtaining an education.