Black History Month: First Black Students, Faculty

Bobby Lee Kountz, Sr.

Additional Reporting by Kasim Hardaway

Leodis Davis

Leodis Davis

Leodis Davis

Through attaining exemplary marks, graduating with honors, and being a persistent hard-worker, Davis became a distinguished member in the field of biochemistry and the Kansas City community as well as the 1986 UMKC Alumnus of the Year.

After receiving an outstanding score on the University of Kansas City (UKC) entrance exam, Davis was accepted to UKC and awarded the Victor Wilson Scholarship.

Upon graduation from UKC Davis went on to continue his studies at Iowa State University to earn a master’s and doctoral degree in biochemistry.

Davis became a professor at several universities including Howard University Medical College, Tennessee State University, and the University of Iowa where Davis served as the dean of the Graduate College, associate provost and head the Chemistry department.

Sharon Baucom (left) and Karen Baucom (right).

Sharon Baucom (left) and Karen Baucom (right).

The Baucom sisters

The UMKC School of Medicine was founded in 1971 as a six-year program.

After graduating from Central High School in Kansas City, Karen and Sharon Baucom attended Kansas University Medical School (KU Med).

In 1971, the sisters transferred to UMKC and joined the newly created medical program.

The sisters graduated in 1975 becoming the first African-American students to complete the medical program.

After graduating, Karen Baucom, MD, went on to serve as a medical staff in various hospitals in Kansas and Missouri. In 2001 Karen established the Baucom Institute for Longevity and Life Enhancement.

Sharon Baucom, MD, began working as a physician for KU Med in 1975. Sharon later became the Asst. Professor for KU’s Department of Family practice until 1981. Sharon became chief medical officer for the Department of Public Safety and deputy director of Clinical Services in Richmond, VA.

Harold Lee Holiday, Sr.

Harold Lee Holiday, Sr.

Harold Lee Holiday, Sr.

The Kansas City School of Law was founded in 1895 by William P. Borland, Edward D. Ellison and Elmer N. Powell. Five years after the University began enrollment, the Law school merged with UKC in 1938.

Harold Lee Holiday, Sr. applied to in 1945 but was rejected.

The Lincoln High School graduate and World War II Veteran re-applied in 1948 and was accepted. Upon graduating with honors in 1952, Holiday became the first African-American to graduate from the UKC Law School.

William L. Dawson

William L. Dawson

William L. Dawson

Dawson graduated from the Horner Institute of Fine Arts, now known as the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance with a degree in music education.

He taught alongside Harlem Renaissance artist Aaron Douglass at Lincoln High School while he was enrolled at the Horner Institute of Fine Arts.

Upon graduation, Dawson went on to continue his studies at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago where earned his master’s degree. Dawson started his professional career in music at the Tuskegee Institute where he started the music department in 1931.

Hazel Browne Williams

Hazel Browne Williams

Hazel Browne Williams

Williams received a bachelor’s and master’s degree in English at the University of Kansas after attending Lincoln High School in Kansas City, Mo.

Williams went on to become a professor, teaching at Louisville Municipal College as the assistant professor in English. In 1958, Williams began teaching at UKC, becoming the first African-American faculty member.

After Williams passed away in 1986, the English department established a scholarship in her memory for minority students at both the undergraduate and graduate level.

Bobby Lee Kountz, Sr.

Bobby Lee Kountz, Sr.

Bobby Lee Kountz, Sr.

Founded in 1885 and originally known as the Pharmaceutical Department of UKC which joined in 1943, the School of Pharmacy recently celebrated over 100 years in pharmaceutical education.

Bobby Lee Kountz, Sr. graduated from Lincoln High School in 1947. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of New Mexico. In 1949, she entered the Pharmacy program and later became one of the first African-American women to graduate from the program.

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