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A People's History of Kansas City

The podcast about the everyday heroes, renegades and visionaries who shaped Kansas City and the region. If these stories aren't told, they're in danger of fading into the past. Hosted by Suzanne Hogan.

Send story ideas to peopleshistorykc@kcur.org, follow us on Twitter @PHKCpod or join our Facebook Group.

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  • Independence, Missouri, was the door to America’s westward expansion in the 19th century. At its center stood Hiram Young, a formerly enslaved man who carved out a fortune, lost most of it, and whose influence on the region is beginning to spread.
  • Join the KCUR podcast team that makes "A People's History of Kansas City" live at the Gem Theater on Thursday, Sept. 1 for a behind-the-scenes look at their award-winning episode, "Kansas City's Barbecue King." There will be BBQ trivia, a special guest and some never-before-heard information about Henry Perry. Tickets available at kcur.org/events.
  • As Kansas City’s first Black-owned housing co-op, Parade Park helped residents pursue the American Dream of owning a home and building a community. But after 60 years, it’s uncertain if it can survive foreclosure and redevelopment.
  • This isn't the first time Missouri has banned abortions. Residents may have heard ghoulish tales of “Doc Annie” Smith, a physician who looms large in Missouri’s mythology for performing illegal abortions in the early 1900s. Today, the truth about her work has largely disappeared.
  • Chillicothe, Missouri, has an unusual claim to fame: It’s the town where sliced bread first debuted back in 1928. But despite being less than a century old, the origin of this revolutionary pantry staple was almost lost to history.
  • For three decades, Julia Lee reigned over Kansas City jazz clubs singing risqué songs “her mother taught her not to sing.” But beyond the lyrical wordplay of hits like "Snatch and Grab It," Lee was a trailblazer for Black female musicians, and forged a career on her own terms.
  • Years before the Stonewall uprising, Drew Shafer started Kansas City's first gay rights organization and published the first LGBTQ magazine in the Midwest. At one point, his Kansas City home was even the “information distribution center” for the entire gay rights movement.
  • Black-owned broadcasters have faced a difficult path in the United States, from Jim Crow-era discrimination to racist practices within the FCC. But in Kansas City, radio pioneer Andrew Skip Carter broke through — founding the country’s oldest Black owned radio company and inspiring new generations of talent.
  • Over the last century, the Country Club Plaza has survived natural disasters, social unrest and challenging economic climates. But how can we reckon the place we love with the controversial vision of its creator, J.C. Nichols?
  • Fed up with harassment and housing discrimination, lesbians in 1990s Kansas City dreamed of a place where they could "walk hand in hand, freely down the streets." So they created Womontown. The self-sufficient community encompassed 12 city blocks and attracted women from all over the U.S.