Lloyd Lionel Gaines was a bright and intelligent young man with big dreams of a better future. After the sudden death of his father when Lloyd was only 14, his mother Callie moved her family to St. Louis, Missouri from Mississippi.
Lloyd graduated first in his high school class and even won a $250 scholarship in an essay contest. He enrolled in a teacher’s college but was forced to drop out for lack of money. After getting another scholarship and help from his brothers and black churches, he enrolled at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri where he became president of his senior class, an honors graduate in history and a skilled debater. He graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in history in 1936, but he really wanted to be a lawyer. At the time, there were only 36 black lawyers in the state of Missouri.