Lloyd L. Gaines - Early Life

Early Life

Born in 1911 in Water Valley, Mississippi, Gaines moved with his mother and siblings to St. Louis in 1926 after the death of his father, settling in the city's Central West End neighborhood. He did well academically, and was a valedictorian at Vashon High School. After winning a $250 ($3,000 in modern dollars) scholarship in an essay contest, he went to college and graduated with honors from Lincoln University in Jefferson City, the state's undergraduate institution for African Americans, with a bachelor's degree in history. He made up the difference between the scholarship and the college's tuition by selling magazines on the street. He was president of the senior class and a brother in the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.

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