Rediscovering Vada Lee Easter and the movement to desegregate Webster
Published on the Webster University News site on February 1, 2024
Saint Louis University (SLU) has long been credited as the first university in Missouri to desegregate. According to history books, SLU started admitting Black students in the summer of 1944. It was the first all-white institution of higher education in Missouri – and the first in a previous slave state – to integrate its classrooms. Webster University, history books say, was the second in Missouri when it enrolled its first two Black students in 1947, Irene Thomas and Jeannette Jackson. Both graduated in 1950.
That history is now being scrutinized.
Annie Stevens, PhD, a professor of religious studies at Webster University and a member of the Sisters of Loretto, uncovered records that raised questions about when colleges in Missouri began enrolling Black students. “It happened as part of my research for a larger Loretto Roots/Enslavement research project,” she said.
You can read the entire story on this page of Webster University’s website.