THE PENDERGAST YEARS

Kansas City in the Jazz Age & Great Depression

19th Amendment Centennial

Ratified on August 18, 1920, the 19th Amendment recognized women's constitutional right to vote. After achieving longtime goals of suffrage and Prohibition, politically active women in Kansas City pivoted to other issues and frequently found themselves in contention with the Pendergast organization. The women's suffrage movement and ensuing reform efforts are explored on the Pendergast Years website and in other resources from the Kansas City Public Library and regional partners.

Learn More »

Thomas Crittendon

One of the defining aspects of “Boss” Thomas J. Pendergast’s “machine” politics was its approach to African American voters. During the early 20th century, at a time when black people were routinely excluded from the vote by Democratic regimes in most of the former slave South, Pendergast’s Democratic organization in Kansas City succeeded in part by attracting considerable black support. While such support was not unique to Kansas City—black Missourians never lost the vote in the same way or degree as their counterparts farther South—historians often point to the city as an example of early black political realignment toward a Northern Democratic Party based in urban, industrial centers and at increasing odds with its Southern wing over the issue of civil rights.

KANSAS CITY PUBLIC LIBRARY | DIGITAL HISTORY
Civil War on the Western Border: The Missouri-Kansas Conflict,1855-1865.
The Pendergast Years, Kansas City in the Jazz Age & Great Depression.
KC History, Missouri Valley Special Collections at the Kansas City Public Library.