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Alvin Brooks’ mark on civil rights history in Kansas City – on the city’s history in total – is indelible. Born into poverty and a racist society, he became a trailblazing police officer and detective, city councilman, and mayor pro tem.
While his story is not widely known, Kansas City civil rights leader Leon M. Jordan was among the most influential African Americans in Missouri before being shot to death in 1970. He lent a powerful presence as a co-founder of Freedom Incorporated and three-term state legislator, paving the way for other Blacks in politics.
For five years in the late 1960s and early ’70s, Ellis Haizlip presided over one of the most culturally significant television shows in U.S. history. SOUL!, on PBS, probed and celebrated the African American experience, from interviews with Harry Belafonte, Muhammad Ali, and James Baldwin to performances by Patti LaBelle, Al Green, and Stevie Wonder.
They came from different neighborhoods and ran with rival gangs on Chicago’s West Side. Improbably, the group of young men found promise and common purpose in a boat, in a sport – rowing – that few African Americans saw as being for them. It changed the direction of their lives.
Mike Fannin, Mará Rose Williams, Michele Watley, Nicole Sussner Rodgers, Toriano Porter
Days before Christmas, on its website and across more 10 pages of its Sunday print edition, The Kansas City Star laid out a remarkable examination of its coverage of race and the city’s Black community over its 140-year history. And in an accompanying letter from President and Editor Mike Fannin, headlined “The truth in Black and white,” it apologized.
Bill Tammeus and his family have borne a deep personal loss since the terrorists’ attacks of September 11, 2001. His nephew, a bond analyst for Hancock Financial Services, was aboard the first plane to slam into the World Trade Center in New York City.
Caitlin Corcoran, James Chang, Cheetie Kumar, Liz Cook
While more than three dozen Kansas City restaurants have closed for good amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many, many more have managed to survive. But what lies ahead? The Independent Restaurant Coalition, formed earlier this year to advocate targeted federal assistance, has estimated that up to 85% of the country’s independent dining outlets are at risk of shutting their doors.