Kansas City History | KCUR

Kansas City History

(audio)

Segment 1: He came to Kansas City as the youngest concertmaster in the country in the 1950s; he died this year, leaving a poweful legacy behind.

Segment 1: Kansas City does have something named for Martin Luther King, Junior.

A month after Martin Luther King's name was voted off of a major boulevard, a cleaning effort is underway at a long-neglected park named after the civil rights icon. The park's been dedicated to King since 1978.

Segment 1: If Kansas City wants to go green, we have to drive less. Can we do it?

Transportation is the biggest source of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States, with most of that coming from cars and trucks, but how realistic is it to expect people to break up with their cars in a city that was built for the automobile?

Courtesy of the family

Boston Daniels was chief of the Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department for only one year.

But he is remembered not only as the city’s first black police chief, but for distinguishing himself as a cop who worked his way up through the ranks over 25 years.

“It is safe to say there has never been another police chief quite like Boston Daniels,” the Kansas City Kansan wrote in an editorial on May 17, 1971, marking Daniels' retirement.

Michelle Tyrene Johnson / KCUR 89.3

The community around Quindaro Boulevard in Kansas City, Kansas, is mostly black.

But Our Lady And St. Rose Catholic Church, at 5th and Quindaro, attracts a diverse mix congregants, often thought of as a rarity at Sunday morning services around the country.

“It’s been what our mission statement says, it’s been a faith-filled, diverse, family community,” says Sister Therese Bangert.

A journey along Quindaro Boulevard in northeast Kansas City, Kansas, takes us through history, demographic shifts, religion, and plans for economic development. Visit a black-owned bookstore in the 1960s, an integrated church and hear about one of the country's first black police chiefs. Plus, teens grapple with whether they have to leave the area to succeed.

This show is a culmination of months of reporting along Quindaro Boulevard as part of KCUR's Here to Listen initiative

Courtesy of the McFields

On the northeast corner of 5th and Quindaro Boulevard in Kansas City, Kansas, sits a vacant and weathered building where 45 years ago, a black-owned bookstore became a clearinghouse for black literature, history and music as well as a vibrant gathering place to discuss the culture and politics of the day.

Brandon Parigo / KCUR 89.3

Bernard Crawford grew up on Quindaro during the 1970s. He remembers thriving businesses: bakeries, grocery stores and theaters. He left for school but has come back to be what he calls a "light” on Quindaro, to help it be a safe and welcoming place. A sign on the wall says, "No swearing allowed."

He’s got fruit snacks and lollipops for the kids.

Steve Willis Photography

In her telling of Kansas City history, writer Karla Deel made room for people and topics she says wouldn't have a place in other history books — "vulnerable voices that are often hushed," she calls them.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

In the annals of Wild West lawmen, you may not know Thomas Speers, the first police chief in Kansas City, but he was a legend in the late 19th century.

“He was contemporaries with 'Bat' Masterson, Wyatt Earp, 'Wild Bill' Hickok," says his great-grandson Clay Speers. "They would hang around when he was town marshal at the City Market square."

Segment 1: Germany's prisons emphasize rehabilitation and resocialization for their inmates.

Germany is doing a lot of things differently than the U.S. when it comes to criminal justice, and they've got a lower inceration rate to show for it. In prisons there, staff are trained in things like psychology and communication, and they're paid just as much as police officers. This is all to promote a reintegration approach, which focuses on returning inmates back into their communities. 

Segment 1: Jackson County legislators answer questions of current budget, property tax and working with county executive Frank White.

Jackson County lawmakers say recent budgeting and property tax issues have caused county residents to distrust their local government. Legislator Jalen Anderson attributed the root of the problem to a lack of transparency and communication between the legislative and executive branches. "The time for talking is done. There needs to be change now," Anderson said. 

He brings us local news highlights with his primetime public affairs TV program each weekand his journalistic experience spans from the BBC to Kansas Public Radio. Nick Haines is rarely the one answering the questions, but today he shares an exclusive look at what makes KCPT's Kansas City Week in Review happen every Friday.

Segment 1: A new documentary explores the life of abstract expressionist painter Albert Bloch.

Albert Bloch lived the final decades of his life in Lawrence, Kansas. But at the height of his career, he was a member of a band of artists that helped create modernism in Europe.

White Castle Dreams

Sep 16, 2019

If fast food is an American ritual, the hamburger is our "secular wafer." That's according to the author of a new book, Drive Thru Dreams. He says the story of fast food begins with the invention of the hamburger in Wichita, Kansas.

Segment 1: "All genocides ... begin with words," says one Emory professor concerned about a rise in anti-Semitic rhetoric. 

Anti-Semitism is on the rise around the world, concerning scholars and Jewish communities. Money that could be spent in programming and outreach is being redirected to security measures for area Jewish Centers. "The fear in the community is palpable," says Gavriela Geller, executive director for Jewish Commuity Relations Bureau-American Jewish Committee.

Segment 1: Mahatma Gandhi's grandson reflects on his family legacy.

As the world begins celebrating Gandhi's 150th birthday, Park University brings the iconic leader's grandson and biographer to town for celebrations and talks. The elder Gandhi sought to attain purity as a way of leading entire nations to peace; his grandson believes that we can contribute to that greater good, even while falling short of perfection in our lives.

Segment 1: New distilleries revive the past, with a twist.

Why was 9th street, in the West Bottoms, once known as the "wettest block"? Why did a spirits industry thrive here in the 19th century and then fade even before Prohibition? And what's it like to ride the slide at the new East Bottoms facility for J. Rieger & Co.?

Segment 1: The Kansas City Public School Board prepares for a new school year

Both new and returning school board members are preparing for the start of the school year next week. They talked about the timeline for accreditation, the inefficiency of charter schools and how the Jackson County reassessment issues are making an impact on the district. 

Segment 1: Kansas City Classics

Among the new and noteworthy restaurants populating Kansas City, let’s not forget those that came first and have stuck around for a while. We talk about the classic restaurants of Kansas City, which have set the standard for diners across the metro.

Segment 1: Busing to desegregate schools: then and now

For some, busing throughout the 1970s, '80s and '90s held a negative connotation. But education professor Erica Frankenberg and reporter Lynn Horsely say it ultimately benefitted students and communities, including Kansas City, Missouri.

Segment 1: As the tourism industry grows, so do questions about the impact of travel.

Are there ways to enjoy greater acess to travel while also treading more lightly on the destinations we visit? Or do we simply need to cut back?

Paul Andrews / paulandrewsphotography.com

The night of his high school graduation, Daniel Edwards and his friends looked out at Kansas City from a fourth-floor window at Lincoln College Preparatory Academy on 21st and Woodland. They could see vacant property in every direction, and as they prepared to head off into the world, they joked about coming back as grown-ups to buy an empty block and start their own neighborhood.

That's basically what Edwards and his wife Ebony are doing right now.

Portrait Session: Ebony And Daniel Edwards

Jun 21, 2019

They're both from Kansas City's East Side, but the couple met at a conference in Cincinnati, and they've been dreaming of making things happen for their community ever since. Their plans for a new neighborhood on a vacant lot are so ambitious that just getting a shovel in the ground to start building would be an achievement of national significance. Hear why.

  • Ebony Edwards, CEO, Movement KC
  • Daniel Edwards, architect, Movement KC

Segment 1: How conservative ideology could be bad for white Americans' well-being.

Sociologist Jonathan Metzl discussed how rightist policies for health care, guns and racial hierarchies could mean more health problems for whites. 

Michelle Tyrene Johnson / KCUR 89.3

Updated, 11:15 a.m. Thursday: On Wednesday, the Kansas City council's finance and governance committee recommended that the the street name restoration measure, which would restore the Paseo name, be placed on the November 5 ballot. The full city council is expected to vote on the measure in two weeks.

The original post continues below.

Micheal Logan remembers a time when blacks in Kansas City, Missouri, weren’t allowed to go south of 27th Street.

Seg. 1: The North Loop | Seg. 2: Molly Murphy

May 20, 2019

Segment 1: The North Loop

The creation of the North Loop redefined downtown Kansas City in the mid 1900's. How has this region of the highway system impacted our city's past, present and future?

Macjohn4 / Public Domain

When George Kessler drafted plans in 1893 for a parks and boulevard system in Kansas City, he created a model for cities throughout the world. From Mexico City to Denver and Indianapolis, Kessler had a hand in hundreds of projects.

Segment 1: Kansas City mourns the death of second major philanthropist in a week. 

Morton Sosland, who rose to run the publishing company that bears his family's name, died on April 25, just two days after he lost his friend and fellow city patron Henry Bloch. Friends recalled Morton's personality, generosity and legacy.     

Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library

Inasmuch as Detroit relied on automobiles, or Pittsburgh on steel, Kansas City once relied on a meatpacking industry that, in turn, depended on a multi-ethnic, low-wage, but organized labor force.

Pages