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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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  • At the turn of the 20th century, a self-taught caterer in Columbia gained national acclaim with her sought-after biscuit recipe. Fisher’s famous beaten biscuits made it onto the plates of presidents and Hollywood stars alike — making her one of the wealthiest Black women around. But her story may have been lost if not for a few determined Missouri women.
  • With more shoreline than the coast of California, the Lake of the Ozarks in mid-central Missouri is a popular tourist destination for land-locked Midwesterners. For decades, it's provided financial opportunities for locals and outside interests alike — but at what cost? The story of how this man-made body of water came to be involves corruption, jail time, communities torn apart, and displaced families.
  • Kansas City’s first Pride parade in 1977 was spearheaded by Lea Hopkins, a bold, Black lesbian whose organizing sparked a wider gay rights movement that continues today. But it was only a few weeks after that successful event that Hopkins found herself on the defense again, when a prominent anti-gay activist came on a crusade through town.
  • In the 1900s, the Neck neighborhood was the center of the Black community in Independence, Missouri. But by 1969, the neighborhood had been demolished — thanks to urban renewal policies put into place by President Harry S. Truman, who lived nearby. Today, it’s the site of McCoy Park, a vast green space that connects the Harry S. Truman Library to the Independence Square.
  • A 1975 protest at a McDonald’s restaurant in Kansas City emerged from years of escalating tension — between Black community members and their city, and between McDonald’s and the neighborhoods it occupied. But this particular location was also one of the first Black-owned fast-food franchises in the country, an accomplishment born from its own struggle for inclusion.
  • The White Castle chain began in 1921 in Wichita, Kansas, where its ingenious small burgers kicked off a national craze and inspired imitators of all shapes and sizes. But over a century later, White Castle has entirely vanished from its home state. And the story of how it introduced America to the hamburger and the concept of fast food has largely been overshadowed by its restaurant rivals.
  • KCUR Studios has a new investigative podcast. Overlooked tells the story of former police detective Roger Golubski, who put an innocent man in prison and is accused of sexually assaulting numerous Black women in Kansas City, Kansas. For decades, it was an open secret. How could this have happened for so long, and what does justice look like for his alleged victims? Hear chapter one now, and stay tuned for a new episode next week.
  • 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.