Publication Date

Summer 2000

Document Type



In the modern era efforts at recruitment, selection, admission and retention of minorities to law school, while not always consistent, began and now continue to emphasize not only the manner in which a truly diverse student body enhances and enriches the learning experience of all students, but also the need to remedy the inequities and indignities visited by past discrimination. Any perspective on this law school's experience in minority recruitment, admissions and retention, necessitates at least an acknowledgment of the historical context in which the law school began and the social-political climate in which it developed. The announcement of the Kansas City School of Law for 1895-1896 stated "The School opens its doors to all classes of students, without distinction of sex, race, or citizenship. The only qualifications necessary are sufficient mental attainments and good moral character." The fact that there was not a single Black graduate of the law school until 1952, some fifty-five years after the first graduation in 1897, suggests a continuing inconsistency between public statements and actual practice. The reasons for this disparity between initial high-minded rhetoric and subsequent practices are perhaps explained in part by historical distinctions between de jure and de facto racial discrimination. This article addresses the participation and experience of students from ethnic minority groups because of the intense, continuous and oppressive discrimination which ethnic minority students faced for so many years when seeking to pursue higher education, including the study of law at this law school and elsewhere.

Publication Title

University of Missouri Kansas City Law Review