Lincoln University School of Law

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Lincoln University School of Law
Parent institution
Lincoln University
Location, ,
United States
FateMerged into the University of Missouri School of Law

Lincoln University School of Law was a professional graduate school of Lincoln University (a historically Black university), which operated in St. Louis, Missouri from September 20, 1939, until it closed in 1955. Although Lincoln University’s campus was located in Jefferson City, Missouri, the law school was established in St. Louis because university officials believed that student enrollment would be better in an urban-centered program and that the St. Louis location offered students opportunities to meet with practicing lawyers and that faculty from the two white university law schools in the St. Louis area might be available as part-time lecturers at the new law school.[1]


Lincoln University School of Law was established during that period of history in the United States when African-Americans were subjected to segregation and was established as a result of the practice of segregation.[citation needed] In Missouri as in many other States, African-Americans were permitted to engage in the practice of law but were not accepted as students in any of the state’s law schools because of laws and customs that segregated African-Americans from participation as students in law schools in the state, but which provided such educational opportunities solely to white students.[1]

Prior to the establishment of Lincoln University School of Law those African-Americans who desired to enter the practice law in Missouri were forced by the circumstances to obtain their legal education from law schools outside of the state before they could seek admission to the bar of Missouri. These circumstances changed, however, after the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada, 305 U.S. 337 (1938), which held that the State of Missouri must provide in-state legal education to African-Americans because it provided such education to white students. As a result of the court case, the Missouri General Assembly passed a bill which provided $275,000 for the creation and establishment of a law school for African-Americans, the Lincoln University School of Law, which opened its doors on September 20, 1939, with 31 students enrolled. Thus, it is one of the very few law schools in the United States to have been established as the result of a lawsuit.[1]

Lincoln University School of Law attained full accreditation by the American Bar Association in 1939 and became a member of the American Association of Law Libraries in December 1939. It was approved by the Missouri Board of Law Examiners in February 1940 and awarded membership in the Association of American Law Schools in December 1941.[1]

The first Dean of the law school was William L. Taylor (1941–1943),[2][3]  who was succeeded by Scovel Richardson (1944–1953).[4]  The last Dean of the school was Daniel W. Bowles (1954–1955)[5] Members of the faculty the first year were Daniel W. Bowles, James C. Bush, Scovel Richardson, Myron B. Bush, H. Wilson Gray, Silas E. Garner and Virgh Lucas (Librarian).[6]  The first graduates of the law school were Dorothy L. Freeman, A. Alphonse Lenoir and Betty Stuart.[1]  By 1954 the number of law students had decreased to 12 and the law school ceased operation because its expense constituted a drain on the university’s meager resources.[1]  It was merged with the University of Missouri School of Law.[7] By its final year of operation, it had graduated 79 students to 14 States and the District of Columbia.[1]


The school was established in the former Poro Beauty College building,[1] a three-story structure which existed at 4310 St. Ferdinand Avenue in St. Louis until it was razed in 1965. The location currently includes the St. James AME Church and the James House, the latter of which is high-rise housing and a part of the St. Louis Housing Authority.[8]

Notable faculty and alumni[edit]

Name Born Died Positions and Recognition Notes
Almer T. Adair[9] 5/3/1923 12/7/1982[10]
  • Plaintiffs’ co-counsel w/Thurgood Marshall in Kansas City, Mo. et al. v. Williams et al., Williams et al. v. Kansas City, Mo. et al.
  • 205 Fed. 2d 47 (8th Cir. 1953), cert. den.,Oct. 12, 1953, 74 S. Ct. 45 A successful action to eliminate racial discrimination in the denial to plaintiffs of the right to enjoy the swimming pool in Swope Park as a recreation facility.[11]
Interred at Leavenworth, KS National Cemetery.[10]
George W. Draper, II[12] 1921 1976[12]
  • Assistant Professor[13]
  • Assistant Attorney General, State of Missouri (circa 1960 - 1971)[14]
  • Deputy General Counsel
  • Deputy Executive Director, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission( - 1971)[12]
  • Associate Judge, Superior Court, District of Columbia (1971–1976)[15]
Harold F. Fullwood[16] 12/12/1920 01/11/1992[17]
  • Asst. U.S. Attorney, Eastern District of Missouri, St. Louis (circa 1960’s)[18]
  • City Judge, St. Louis, Missouri (circa 1970’s)[19]
Interred at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St. Louis, MO[20]
George Howard, Jr.[21] 05/13/1924 04/21/2007
  • Justice, Arkansas Supreme Court (1977-1978).[21]
  • Arkansas Court of Appeals (1979).[21]
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern and Western Districts of Arkansas (1980-2007).[22]
Hosea T. Lockard[23][24] 6/24/1920 12/12/2011[25]
  • Shelby County Tennessee Quarterly Court, elected 1964, served until 1967
  • Administrative Assistant, Tennessee Governor Buford Ellington, 1967–1971
  • Judge, Shelby County Criminal Court, 1975–1994
  • Board Member, National Civil Rights Museum, 1989–1999|
  • Benjamin L. Hooks Award, Memphis Bar Foundation, 2010[26]
Interred West Tennessee Veterans Cemetery, Memphis.[26]
Scovel Richardson 2/4/1912
Nashville, TN
  • President, National Bar Association, 1951[28]
  • Associate Professor, Dean (1939–1953)
  • Member, U.S. Board of Parole and Probation (1953–1957, Chair, 1954–1957)
  • Judge, United States Customs Court, 1957 - 1980
  • U.S. Court of International Trade, 1980 - 1982[29]
Funeral, New Rochelle, NY Presbyterian Church.[30]
Margaret Bush Wilson[31] 1/30/1919 8/11/ 2009
  • Second African-American woman admitted to practice law in Missouri, 1943
  • U.S. Attorney, Rural Electrification Administration
  • Assistant Attorney General, State of Missouri
  • Chair, N.A.A.C.P. Board of Directors(1975–1984)[32]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Lincoln University: 1920-1970, Arnold G. Parks, Arcadia Publishing, 2007, p. 89
  2. ^ "Archives 1941, Lincoln University of Missouri, p. 55".
  3. ^ "Archives 1949, Lincoln University of Missouri, p. 74".
  4. ^ "Archives 1955, Lincoln University of Missouri, p. 88".
  5. ^ "Archives 1942, Lincoln University of Missouri , p. 84;".
  6. ^ "Archives 1942, Lincoln University of Missouri , p. 85;".
  7. ^ "St. Louis Women Lawyer's Ass'n Newsletter, Summer 2009, comments by Nicole Colbert-Botchway, president-elect, with support from Sheena Hamilton, at p. 3" (PDF).
  8. ^ "emporis GmbH property description and history".
  9. ^ "Archives 1949, Lincoln University of Missouri , p. 77;".
  10. ^ a b "Grave of Almer T Adair in Section 44". Histopolis - Collaborative Genealogy & History.
  11. ^ 205 Fed. 2d 47 (8th Cir. 1953), cert. den., Oct. 12, 1953, 74 S. Ct. 45.
  12. ^ a b c Announcement, Jet Magazine v. 50, n. 20, August 5, 1976, p. 14.
  13. ^ Lincoln University: 1920-1970, Arnold G. Parks, Arcadia Publishing, 2007, p. 101
  14. ^ see attorneys named in cases in Southwest Reporter (West Pub. Co.), i.e., State v. Missouri State Employees' Retirement Sys., 362 S.W.2d 571 (1962) - State v. Worley, 383 S.W.2d 529 (1964)
  15. ^ "District of Columbia Judicial Nomination Commission Record of Recommendations and Chief Judge Designations and Presidential Appointments to the District of Columbia Court of Appeals and the Superior Court of the District of Columbia May 8, 1975 to September 30, 2011, p. 8" (PDF).
  16. ^ "Archives 1949, Lincoln University of Missouri , p. 78;".
  17. ^ "Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery St. Louis, Missouri".
  18. ^ see cases in Federal Reporter Second Series (West Pub. Co.), i.e., The Home indemnity Company, a Corporation vs. F.H. Donovan Painting Co., Inc., Bankrupt, 325 F.2d 870 (8th Cir. 1963) - James Corbett Churder vs. United States, 387 F.2d 825 (8th Cir. 1968)
  19. ^ "see In Re Fullwood, 518 S.W.2d 22 (1975)".
  20. ^ "Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery St. Louis, Missouri".
  21. ^ a b c Howard's biography, from Arkansas Black Hall of Fame Retrieved January, 29th, 2013
  22. ^ Bill naming Federal Courthouse after George Howard, Jr. From Retrieved January 29th, 2013.
  23. ^ "Archives 1949, Lincoln University of Missouri, p. 78".
  24. ^ "Archives 1950, Lincoln University of Missouri, p. 131".
  25. ^ "Extensions of Remarks" (PDF). CONGRESSIONAL RECORD. 16 December 2011.
  26. ^ a b "Judiciary Mourns Passing of Former Criminal Court Judge *H.T. Lockard".
  27. ^ "Richardson, Scovel(1912-1982) - Judge, Lawyer, educator, Receives Presidential Appointments, Chronology". Net Industries and its Licensors. Retrieved 19 February 2012.
  28. ^ "Contributions of Missouri's to Securing Equal Justice" (PDF). p. 43. Retrieved 19 February 2012.
  29. ^ "Scovel Richardson". Judgepedia. Archived from the original on 2011-09-29. Retrieved 19 February 2012.
  30. ^ Announcement, Jet Magazine v. 62, n. 7, April 26, 1982, p. 8
  31. ^ "Law School: First Year Law Student Margaret Bush Standing Outside of Law Library". A Digital Collection Celebrating the Founding of the Historically Black College and University. Retrieved 19 February 2012.
  32. ^ Lincoln University: 1920-1970, Arnold G. Parks, Arcadia Publishing, 2007, p. 100