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Profile in Civil Rights: Rev. Nelson 'Fuzzy' Thompson

Photo by Royal Photography LLC.
Photo by Royal Photography LLC.


KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Recently, the Kansas City community came together to honor minister and long-time civil rights activist Reverend Nelson "Fuzzy" Thompson. Since 1967, the Kansas City, Kan., native has been active in major human rights struggles for civil rights in the U.S. and abroad-- in South Africa, Nicaragua and Iran.

He was pastor of Mason Memorial United Methodist Church for 14 years. Three Kansas City mayors appointed Thompson to the Kansas City Human Rights Commission, where he eventually served as chairman. As CEO of the Kansas City Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), Thompson has spearheaded Kansas City's major Martin Luther King celebrationy.

Perhaps because of the issues he's tackled, Thompson has been a lightning rod for controversy. These days, Thompson is facing a new battle with health problems that have slowed him down. KCUR's Susan B. Wilson paid a visit to his home near UMKC to talk about his life and his involvement in politics, the ministry and civil rights.

This story was produced for KC Currents. 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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