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Up To Date

Kansas City Women Versus Tom Pendergast

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In the 1920s and '30s, Kansas City was defined by the corruption of the political machine run by “Boss” Tom Pendergast. But the machine finally was brought down, in no small part through the efforts of reform-minded women.

Former Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes tells the story of these “civic housekeepers” whose fight came to a dramatic conclusion with the ballot-box victories of 1940, Pendergast’s imprisonment in the U.S. Penitentiary at Leavenworth, and the smashing of machine-mob rule.

Guest:

  • Kay Barnes served two terms (1997-2007) as the first woman mayor of Kansas City, Missouri. She was also one of the first two women on the Jackson County Legislature and was elected to the Kansas City City Council in 1979. Barnes currently serves on the graduate faculty at Park University's Hauptmann School of Public Affairs.

HEAR MORE: Kay Barnes presents Civic Housekeepers: Kansas City Women v. Pendergast at 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 20, at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.  To reserve a seat go to kclibrary.org.

When I host Up To Date each morning at 9 a.m., my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. My email is steve@kcur.org.
As senior producer of Up To Date, I want our listeners to hear familiar and new voices that shine light on the issues and challenges facing the myriad communities KCUR serves, and to expose our audiences to the wonderful and the creative in the Kansas City area. Just as important to me is an obligation to mentor the next generation of producers to ensure that the important conversations continue. Reach me at alexanderdk@kcur.org.