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Kansas City's raunchy blues queen

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David White, KCUR 89.3
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Images courtesy of LaBudde Special Collections, UMKC Libraries

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.

Read more about Julia Lee, Kansas City's beloved 1940s jazz queen, from KCUR's Mackenzie Martin.

This episode of A People's History of Kansas City was reported, produced and mixed by Mackenzie Martin with editing by Barb Shelly and Suzanne Hogan.

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Whether it’s something happening right now or something that happened 100 years ago, some stories don’t fit in the short few minutes of a newscast. As a podcast producer at KCUR, I help investigate questions and local curiosities in a way that brings listeners along for adventures with plot twists and thought-provoking ideas. Sometimes there isn’t an easy answer in the end – but my hope is that we all leave with a greater understanding of the city we live in. Reach me at mackenzie@kcur.org or find me on Twitter @_macmartin.
Every part of the present has been shaped by actions that took place in the past, but too often that context is left out. As a community storyteller taking a new look at local history, I aim to provide that context, clarity, empathy and deeper, nuanced perspectives on how the events and people in the past have shaped our community today. I want to entertain, inform, make you think, expose something new and cultivate a deeper shared human connection about how the passage of time affects us all. Reach me at hogansm@kcur.org.