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G. Lawrence Blankinship Dies

By Delores Jones

Kansas City, MO – They called him Mr. B. Perhaps because of his tall, striking stature. But, G Lawrence Blankinship Sr was particularly noted for building a sense of community through his efforts as a businessman and civic leader. He began his career as a pharmacist, but Blanskinship eventually aspired to heal the social ailments brought on by racism and injustices. In 1944, he opened Blankinship Distributors to make beauty supply products available to local African Americans. He also served on the City Council and helped organize the Twin City Federal Savings and Loans, the first banking institution owned by African Americans in Kansas City. His wife of 52 years, Opal Blankinship remembers why her husband first began his business distributing black hair care products.

G. Lawrence Blankinship died Wednesday, December 28, at the age of 92. In 2003, Vine Street between 19th and 21st was renamed GL Blankinship Sr Avenue. More than 500 people attended Blankinship's funeral on Tuesday at Paseo Baptist Church, where he was a member.

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