Louisville Municipal College




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Louisville Municipal College, 1931-1951

The University of Louisville in 1920 had a municipal bond issue that required
a two-thirds affirmative vote for passage. A number of African American Louisvillians expressed their opposition to the bond issue on the grounds that no provisions had been made for the higher education of African Americans and yet African American's tax dollars would be used for the support of higher education for whites. On November 2, 1920, the University of Louisville's 1920 municipal bond issue failed by more than four thousand votes with 24,672-- "for" to 18,408 "against". For passage of the bond issue, 29,000 affirmative votes were needed. It was believed that only the passage of this bond issue would insure the University of Louisville's future as a major institution.

The 1920 vote made both city of Louisville and University of Louisville officials recognize the necessity of consulting with African American leaders and acceding to some of their requests in the future. This was a demonstration of the power of the African American vote. When the University of Louisville attempted to pass a municipal bond to expand its Belknap campus, the municipal bond was initially defeated by African American Louisvillians in an effort to force the University of Louisville to meet their educational needs. The bond was passed in 1925 by African American Louisvillians upon the University of Louisville's promise to establish an institution of higher education. African American leaders wanted an African American liberal arts university in Louisville for their community.

The University of Louisville Trustees agreed to set aside one tenth, i.e. $100,000 of the $1,000,000 bond issue for African American higher education.

On February 9, 1931, Louisville Municipal College for Negroes, (LMC), opened Louisville Municipal College (until 1942, known as Louisville Municipal College for Negroes) was located on the former grounds of Simmons University after it closed
in 1930. Louisville Municipal College (LMC), 1931 -1951, opened as a separate and segregated municipal college under the administration of the Board of Trustees of the University of Louisville; established for the purpose of meeting the higher education needs of African Americans.

Offering a four year liberal arts curriculum, Dr. Rufus Clement, as Dean (1931-1937), with William M. Bright, Earl L. Brown, Nancy Bullock, D. L. Lawson, A. W. Ramsey, and Henry S. Wilson as faculty; greeted the eighty-three new students. A "Class A" rating from the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. Was gained by LMC In 1936.

Louisville Municipal College was one of three liberal arts colleges for African Americans established in the United States at that time. The Deans of Louisville Municipal College were: Rufus Clements, 1931-1937; David A. Lane, 1937-1942; and Bertram W. Doyle, 1942-1950. During its last year of existence, Louisville Municipal College functioned without the leadership of a Dean. Ms. Florence Johnson was LMC''s first graduate in 1932 with a major in chemistry, graduating more than 500 students.

From its very beginning in 1931, Louisville Municipal College had a library. By 1934, the library had over 5,000 volumes and was managed by a professional librarian. In 1951, the collections of the Louisville Municipal College Library was absorbed into UofL's General Library on Belknap Campus, duplicate copies being sold to students and faculty for 25¢ per volume, when LMC closed.

Student activities at LMC were similar to those found at other American colleges in the 1930s and 1940s. The student center on the campus was a gathering for playing cards, checkers, chess, ping pong and other activities. There were intramural sports as well as a collegiate basketball, track, tennis and football teams at Louisville Municipal College. Athletes who lettered in their sport could join the
"L Club".

Fraternities and sororities existed on the campus not only sponsoring social activities for the campus but also provided student scholarships. The campus newspaper the BANTAM was first published in 1931.

"Towards Louisville Municipal College"
"Words from LMC Alumni"

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