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Focus Features

Director Spike Lee’s "BlacKkKlansman," which won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival in May, is finally opening in theaters nationwide. 

Lee's co-writer is University of Kansas film professor Kevin Willmott, who spoke with KCUR's Central Standard host Gina Kaufmann about the movie, which is based on a true story.

Shy Boys

Segment 1: For All The World To See exhibit at the Black Archives of Mid-America.

A nationally touring exhibit from NEH on the Road has made its way to Kansas City. "For All The World To See" displays photographs and other visuals from the civil rights era. We talked about the ways art and culture influence each other.

J Aeionic / Flickr

Folk singer and songwriter Danny Cox has been a fixture of the Kansas City music scene since he moved here from Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1967. Cox played at classic venues like the Vanguard Coffee House in the 1960s, and the Cowtown Ballroom in the '70s. 

And he's still performing. When Cox recently turned 75, KCUR's Fish Fry host Chuck Haddix spoke with Cox about his life and career, starting with his song "Kansas City":

Horace Patterson / LaBudde Special Collections

Segment 1: Lone Jack animal feed operation expansion concerns Powell Gardens.

Segment 1: Refugee of South Sudan performs here in the Metro.

Dominic Leek's home village in South Sudan was raided during the Second Sudanese Civil War. At the age of eight, he escaped Sudan and eventually found refuge in Kansas City. Hear Dominic's story and learn why he uses music to relay messages of peace to his home country.

Segment 2, beginning at 32:17: Memories of a Kansas City civil rights leader.

Collection of Civil Rights Archive / CADVC-UMBC Baltimore Maryland

“Let the world see what I’ve seen.”

These were the words of Mamie Till Mobley, mother of Emmett Till, when she allowed the media to use an infamous photo of her 14-year-old son’s mutilated body upon his death in 1955.

More than half-a-century later, a traveling exhibition inspired by Mobley’s declaration has taken up residence at the Black Archives of Mid-America in Kansas City. “For All The World To See: Visual Culture and the Struggle for Civil Rights” is an exploration of visual imagery in the civil rights era from the 1940s to the 1970s.

Tatiana Vdb / Flickr-CC

Segment 1: Leaders of the Kansas and Missouri chapters of the ACLU discuss their organizations' goings-on.

With a federal court ruling Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach's voter I.D. laws unconstitutional, the ACLU has something to celebrate. In the meantime, they're still fighting restrictive abortion laws in Missouri and for more funding of the state's public defender's office. Today, they updated us on these lawsuits and more.

file photo / Kansas News Service

Registering to vote in the upcoming Kansas primaries? A federal court ruling issued last week means you won’t need your passport, birth certificate or other citizenship papers to do that.

That ruling took immediate effect.

But Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach plans to appeal. So what happens next? Here’s a summary based on interviews with legal experts.

The status check

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: State Sen. Laura Kelly makes her case in the race for Kansas governor.

In Kansas' crowded field of candidates for governor, there is a lone woman running. Today, we met Laura Kelly, the Senate Minority Whip whose district stretches along Highway 24 from Wamego to Topeka. She discussed her multi-continental childhood, her passion for education and her plans to bring the state back from the financial brink.  

file photo / KHI News Service

A devastating legal blow last week to Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s voter fraud platform will, in all likelihood, land in the lap of one of six men vying for his job.

That person could decide whether to press or kill Kobach’s appeal of a federal ruling that blocks the office from making would-be voters dig up birth certificates or other documents that show U.S. citizenship.

LaBudde Special Collections, Miller Nichols Library

Who in Kansas City remembers AIDS activists smashing vials of HIV-positive blood in City Hall, and abortion opponents trying to display fetuses in coffins at Planned Parenthood protests?

It was 25 years ago, so you’d have to be a certain age to remember. And you’d need to have been paying attention to the news.

The American Civil Liberties Union and its Kansas affiliate have filed suit against the Montgomery County Attorney, alleging he failed to follow state law in the use of diversion programs.

The suit was filed Friday with the Kansas Supreme Court, according to a news release from the ACLU. It requests that Montgomery County Attorney Larry Markle be required to create written diversion policies and guidelines; provide written notice of diversion programs to defendants charged in Montgomery County, and hold diversion conferences for defendants offered diversion.

Leola Montgomery is the widow of the Rev. Oliver Brown, the lead plaintiff in the 1954 landmark civil rights case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka.

Montgomery, who is scheduled to be in Wichita on Saturday to receive a special award, doesn’t look one bit of 97. Nor does she act like it.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service

Six weeks of protests by the Poor People’s Campaign nationwide and in Topeka aim to raise awareness of social and economic inequalities.

Translating those demonstrations into changes in state policy, says at least one analyst, will likely demand more sustained efforts.

Protesters occupied part of Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s office recently and 18 people were arrested. This week, Statehouse police arrested 16 people protesting in favor of Medicaid expansion outside the office of Gov. Jeff Colyer.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Kansas governor discusses his transition to power, his election campaign, and the challenges facing his state.

Four months ago, then-Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer stepped into the position vacated by then-Gov. Sam Brownback. Today, he sat down for a wide-ranging conversation that covered school funding, the Kansas Department for Children and Families, a newly-enacted adoption statute, and his campaign to win the governorship without aggressively challenging rival Republican Kris Kobach.

Black and white image of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. surrounded by people.
U.S. National Archives

Segment 1: 50 years after its start, Martin Luther King Jr.'s movement for economic justice has been revitalized.

With his assassination in 1968, the momentum behind the then recently-launched Poor People's Campaign waned. Today, we learned about the national push to resurrect this movement and the 40-day plan for protests at statehouses across the country, including those in Topeka, Kansas, and Jefferson City, Missouri. 

Joe Carson / Courtesy of Bob Hughes Jr.

Updated 5:45 p.m., Friday: After weeks of discussing which street to name after Martin Luther King Jr., an advisory group is recommending not renaming a street at all — but the Kansas City International Airport.

Mayor Sly James clarified at a press conference Monday, if the idea is approved by City Council, the new single-terminal would be renamed, not the entire Kansas City International Airport. But, he said that doesn’t make the proposed gesture any less significant.

Kevin Young

Kansas doesn't have many opportunities to brag about being home to someone who's a mover and shaker in the national culture.

But Topeka can be proud of Kevin Young, who was named poetry editor of "The New Yorker" last year and is director of the New York Public Library's Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

Young moved to Topeka when he was nine, and spent his formative high school years in the city.

file photo / Kansas News Service

A federal judge will now review whether it’s reasonable for an ACLU legal team to charge Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach $52,000 for the time it spent asking a court to hold him in contempt.

The bill for attorneys fees and related expenses came Monday after the ACLU team won that contempt finding last month.

UMKC Theatre

The last Saturday in April was bright and warm, and the students walking around campus at the University of Missouri-Kansas City wore, along with their shorts, the confident expressions of the just-about-done. It was almost summer.

Inside the school’s Spencer Theatre, the season had already arrived, but the young people onstage were about to start something.

Cue Martha and the Vandellas: It's an invitation across the nation, a chance for folks to meet/They'll be laughing and singing, music swinging/Dancing in the street.

Paul Andrews / www.paulandrewsphotography.com

When Alvin Brooks told his father that he wanted to be a police officer, his dad’s first response was, “Why do you want to get into that mess? You know how they treat us.”

Brooks was determined. He became one of Kansas City's few black officers in 1954.

Segment 1: The National School Walkout In North Kansas City.

A check-in with our reporter, who covered today's National School Walkout from Oak Park High School.

Segment 2, beginning at 5:41: A Portrait Session with Alvin Brooks.

Three men were found guilty Wednesday of conspiring to blow up an apartment complex in western Kansas that housed Somali immigrants.

Attorneys for two of the Kansas men accused of plotting to bomb an apartment complex filled with Somali Muslim immigrants in Garden City argued their clients were bit players not interested in actually carrying out the plan.  

Attorneys defending three Kansas men accused of a bomb plot in Garden City are arguing there wouldn’t have been a plot without FBI manipulation.

Photo illustration / Kansas News Service

Younger people could carry guns even as local authorities gain new powers to take guns away in some situations. Police videos could become more available and people held in prison wrongfully could expect payments from the state.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

On April 9, 1968, five days after the killing of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., civil unrest in response to long-standing racial tension broke out in Kansas City. But what really happened 50 years ago? Last week, KCUR hosted the panel "Reaction or Riot?: Understanding 1968 in Kansas City" for community members to share their own experiences and recollections. Today, we revisited that conversation about the ways our city has — and hasn't — changed in the last half century.

Segment 1: Community members recall memories of switching schools after riots following Martin Luther King Jr's assassination.

 After the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968, two local catholic high schools, one serving a primarily white community and the other serving a primarily black community, held a year-long student exchange program. Today, we speak with a few individuals who participated in the exchange as students and discuss the profound effect it had on their lives.

Pete O'Neal

In an interview from his remote village in Tanzania, Kansas City native and self-exiled founder of the Kansas City Chapter of the Black Panthers, Lindsey “Pete” O’Neal, says he regrets some of the actions for which he's been vilified and feared.

Funeral services were held in Topeka on Thursday for civil rights icon Linda Brown, the schoolgirl at the center of the landmark Supreme Court case that declared school segregation unconstitutional.

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