House Representative Josh Peters is offering a resolution to move the University of Missouri’s Lloyd Gaines collection to the Smithsonian Institution. The Lloyd Gaines collection includes documents from the 1938 case when Gaines challenged MU’s admissions policies.
Gaines won his case in the Supreme Court, but was not able to take advantage of his victory. He disappeared in March of 1939.
The papers and artifacts relating to his case are currently housed by the Missouri State Historical Society in the basement of Ellis Library.
The State Historical Society’s Assistant Director of Manuscripts, Laura Jolly, says there simply isn’t room to display the papers. Right now, the Society’s art department is using the display areas they do have.
Representative Peters says the documents should be sent to the Smithsonian Institution to be seen by the public.
“The actual true artifacts of the papers and the legal decisions and those sorts of things should be housed, in my opinion, at the national level in the Smithsonian,” said Peters.
If the resolution passes the collection will be loaned to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, and then returned to the University. The resolution is currently still in committee.