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Tom and James Pendergast
Author: 
Jeffrey L. Pasley

One of the defining political trends of the mid-20th century was the transition of black voters from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party, accompanied by a major shift in the party’s policy platform toward social liberalism and civil rights. Nationally, this change is usually dated to the latter half of the New Deal, roughly around the election of 1936. In Kansas City and the state of Missouri, however, it happened much earlier and in surprising circumstances that greatly influenced national affairs in later years.

Thomas Crittendon
Author: 
John McKerley

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.

Photograph of the First Annual Picnic of the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) Heart of America Chapter 73, taking place in Walnut Grove Park in south Kansas City near 103rd St. & State Line Road. AHEPA is social and charitable organization for Greek immigrants and their descendants.

Date: 
July 11th 1926

Photograph of a group of men assembled for the first annual picnic of the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) Heart of America Chapter No. 73, a social and charitable organization for Greek immigrants and their descendants. The picnic took place in Walnut Grove Park in south Kansas City, Missouri, in July 1926.

Date: 
July 11th 1926

Portrait of the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) Heart of America Chapter 73 including Steve Sakoulas, Louis Kartsonis, and Father Nicholas Speloitis in the 1930s. AHEPA is social and charitable organization for Greek immigrants and their descendants.

Kansas City's Shame, 1913 pamphlet on vice in Kansas City

Kansas City's Shame, 1913 pamphlet on vice in Kansas City. Issued by the Public Morals Committee of the Church Federation of Greater Kansas City. 

James Alexander Reed
Author: 
Kelsey Carls

James Reed was once an outsized figure in Missouri life and politics. An attorney by trade, Reed brought his skills as a shrewd prosecutor to each position he held in state and local government. A loyal ally to those he supported and a bitter enemy to those he disagreed with, Reed was sure to provoke strong responses in all who knew him. And though he was a polarizing figure in his day, often facing severe criticism and opposition, Reed never stopped fighting for what he believed in: a limited federal government, the sovereignty of the states, and individual liberty.

Checking Commercialized Vice in Kansas City

Checking Commercialized Vice in Kansas City, pamphlet published April 15, 1921. Within, Society for Suppression of Commercialized Vice Secretary, Nat Spencer, offers a hopeful outlook for curbing the persistence of prostitution in Kansas City. 

Date: 
1921
Society for the Suppression of Commercialized Vice, Incorporated

Society for the Suppression of Commercialized Vice, Incorporated pamphlet from 1914. States the overall purpose and aims of the society and details progress made in its first year of existence.

Date: 
1914
Society for Suppression of Commercialized Vice, Incorporated

Society for Suppression of Commercialized Vice, Incorporated pamphlet from 1915.

Date: 
1915
Society for Suppression of Commercialized Vice, Incorporated

Society for Suppression of Commercialized Vice, Incorporated pamphlet published July 15,1918.

Date: 
1918
Society for Suppression of Commercialized Vice, Incorporated

Society for Suppression of Commercialized Vice, Incorporated pamphlet. Secretary's Annual Report, October 15, 1920. Includes an illustration titled "The most appreciated cemetery in Kansas City" depicting headstones with various vice interests listed on them.

Date: 
1920
Society for Suppression of Commercialized Vice, Incorporated

Society for Suppression of Commercialized Vice, Incorporated pamphlet published December 6, 1921. Inside is a photograph of the front door of Annie Chambers's famous brothel with a sign posted on the door that reads "This building closed. For Sale. For Rent," captioned "After forty years."

Date: 
1921
Operation of the Injunction and Abatement Law in Kansas City

Operation of the Injunction and Abatement Law in Kansas City, pamphlet published May 24, 1922.

Date: 
1922
Society for Suppression of Commercialized Vice, Incorporated

Society for Suppression of Commercialized Vice, Incorporated pamphlet, published December 8, 1922. Contains the 9th Annual Report of the Secretary, written by Nat Spencer. 

Date: 
1922
Society for Suppression of Commercialized Vice, Incorporated

Society for Suppression of Commercialized Vice, Incorporated pamphlet, published October 29, 1925.

Date: 
1925
Society for Suppression of Commercialized Vice, Incorporated

Society for Suppression of Commercialized Vice, Incorporated pamphlet, published November 4, 1926.

Date: 
1926
Society for Suppression of Commercialized Vice, Incorporated

Society for Suppression of Commercialized Vice, Incorporated pamphlet, published October 21, 1927.

Date: 
1927
Society for Suppression of Commercialized Vice, Incorporated

Society for Suppression of Commercialized Vice, Incorporated pamphlet, published October 30, 1928.

Date: 
1928
Society for Suppression of Commercialized Vice, Incorporated

Society for Suppression of Commercialized Vice, Incorporated pamphlet published October 31, 1929.

Date: 
1929

Pages

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.