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What The 1968 Kansas City Uprisings Have In Common With This Year's Black Lives Matter Protests

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A black and white photograph showing protesters facing law enforcement officers wearing helmets and gas masks whose backs are to the camera.
LaBudde Special Collections
Miller Nichols Library / University of Missouri - Kansas City
The refusal to close public schools in Kansas City, Missouri, for the 1968 funeral of Martin Luther King Jr. sent Black folks to the streets in protest.

The assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and the police killing of George Floyd were just the spark for subsequent protests. Though 52 years passed between the two deaths, there has been little change in the systemic racism contributing to the outrage.

An examination of the unrest on the day of Martin Luther King Jr.'s funeral in 1968, and in the wake of this year's police killing of George Floyd. The death of each man was just the spark for protests that followed, fueled by decades of racial inequity.

Steve Kraske is the host of KCUR's Up To Date. Follow him on Twitter @stevekraske.
Mackenzie Martin is a producer for Up To Date, Real Humans By Gina Kaufmann, and other podcasts at KCUR Studios. Reach out to her at or on Twitter @_macmartin.
Danie Alexander is the senior producer of Up To Date.