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Documentary Tells Story Of First African American Political Club

Leon Jordan was one of the founders of Freedom, Inc.
Courtesy of LaBudde Special Collections, UMKC.
Leon Jordan was one of the founders of Freedom, Inc.

Kansas City has now had two African American mayors and black elected officials in city, county and state government. But this progress did not happen by chance. 

A new film by Emiel Cleaver, called Freedom is Now, documents the history of the nation’s oldest African American political organization, Freedom, Incorporated. It’s a story of how the black community organized to battle racism, organized crime and intimidation in a fierce fight for political representation.

Emiel Cleaver's name might sound familiar: he's the son of former mayor and current congressman Emanuel Cleaver.  He joined KCUR's Susan Wilson in the studio to talk about his film.

The documentary Freedom is Nowpremieres on Friday, February 24, 2012 at the Plaza branch of the Kanas City Public Library.  On Saturday, February 25, 2012 the Black Archives of Mid-America hosts a discussion of the film with early members, founders and Congressman Emanuel Cleaver at its new location, 1722 E. 17th Street.

This story was produced for KC Currents, which airs Sundays at 5pm with a repeat Mondays at 8pm. To listen on your own schedule, subscribe to the KC Currents podcast.

A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Susan admits that her “first love” was radio, being an avid listener since childhood. However, she spent much of her career in mental health, healthcare administration, and sports psychology (Susan holds a PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and an MBA from the Bloch School of Business at UMKC.) In the meantime, Wilson satisfied her journalistic cravings by doing public speaking, providing “expert” interviews for local television, and being a guest commentator/contributor to KPRS’s morning drive time show and the teen talk show “Generation Rap.”
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