Kansas City, Mo. - The Lucile H. Bluford Branch of the Kansas City Public Library, 3050 Prospect Ave., will join in the first statewide celebration of Lucile Bluford Day on Saturday, July 1, 2017.
Bluford, for whom the Bluford Branch is named, was a leading voice in the civil rights movement in Kansas City and helped make The Call one of the largest and most important African-American newspapers in the nation. She also fought discrimination at the University of Missouri, where she initially was accepted as a graduate journalism student in 1939 but then was denied admission when it was discovered she was black. Backed by the NAACP, she continued to push for admission and filed several lawsuits, never ultimately attending the university but receiving an honorary doctorate in 1989.
Rep. Brandon Ellington, who cosponsored the commemoration bill, is the featured speaker as the Library celebrates her legacy on July 1. Special, daylong exhibits focus on Bluford’s life and career. A highlight is the new, early literacy play station that connects young visitors with her story; it includes a replica of her newsroom desk, an old-fashioned typewriter, and a phone (connecting callers to the Library’s Dial-a-Story program).
“The ability to tell a story is an important pre-literacy skill, and the Library is in the business of growing readers,” says Bluford Branch Manager Grace Bentley. “We do that by empowering kids to tell their stories. That the namesake of the branch is someone who believed so strongly in the ability of stories to change the world is absolutely fitting.”
The Library events begin at 11 a.m.