By Steve Neavling
Soon after winning a landmark legal battle to become the first black student in the University of Missouri’s law school, Lloyd Gaines vanished in 1939.
The FBI declined to investigate in 1940 and 1970.
Records obtained by the Associated Press show that the bureau again declined to investigate the case between 2006 and 2013, despite reviewing more than 100 others as part of the Department of Justice initiative and Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Act.
“They should have done more way back when,” said nephew George Gaines, a retiree who lives in San Diego. “I don’t believe there would have been much uncovered more recently. People die, memories fade, records are destroyed. And some people choose not to remember.”
In 1938, the Supreme Court ruled that Gaines, who grew up in St. Louis, must be allowed into the law school or the university must establish a separate law school for black people.
What happened to Gaines remains unclear. Some believe he was killed; others believe he moved to Mexico.