National Constitution Day will be held this week at Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla. An S&T historian will discuss two former students who were key to the campus’s desegregation in 1950. The presentation will take place at noon this Friday in St. Pat’s Ballroom C of the Havener Center on the Missouri S&T campus. Dr. Larry Gragg, Curators’ Distinguished Teaching Professor emeritus of history and political science at Missouri S&T, will speak about the role George E. Horne and Elmer Bell Jr. played in the desegregation of Missouri S&T.
In the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson decision, the U.S. Supreme Court sanctioned segregation in America if separate facilities were substantially equal. In Missouri, three lawyers working for the St. Louis branch of the NAACP drew upon this same constitutional argument to bring about the desegregation of what was then known as Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy in Rolla and other state universities. Congress designated September 17th as Constitution Day to commemorate the signing of the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787.