World War, 1939-1945

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Part 3 of an interview with former Kansas City mayor Ilus W. Davis. He discusses his election to city council, his campaign for mayor, the development of Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Hospital, his thoughts on racial issues and the civil rights movement, the city's public accommodation ordinance, and Black political engagement. He also discusses the protests that happened in the wake of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination, his disinterest in future political office, and remarks on the importance of access to education and jobs for the Black community.

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Interview with Colonel Robert L. Sweeney. Sweeney discusses his family and early life in Highland, Kansas, his military service in World War I, experiencing little discrimination in Highland and France, working as a chauffeur in St. Joseph and Kansas City, visiting New York City, his friendship with the Pendergasts, Harry Truman, and police chief Clarence Kelley, and his hopes for development in downtown Kansas City. He also shares thoughts about World War II, Black political alignments over time, numerous politicians, Black activists and intellectuals, and prominent black Kansas Citians, among other topics.

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Interview with state representative Henry C. Ross. Ross discusses his family and early life, attending Lincoln High School, his early jobs and involvement in politics, being elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in 1964, the work of lawmaking and politics, and his plans to run for state senate office. He also shares thoughts about Freedom Inc., prominent Black Kansas Citians and other politicians, local political factions, the upcoming Republican National Convention, and the role of the police in the protests following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Interview with Adolf Ridgway. Ridgway, born in 1890, discusses his family and early life in Arkansas, dropping out of school at the age of 6 to help his mother, picking cotton, coming to Kansas City in his late 1920s to work on the Santa Fe Railroad, and his memories of the two world wars and the Great Depression. He also shares his thoughts about past American presidents, the boxer Jack Johnson, leisure time activities, and working at other jobs, including North American Aviation.

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Interview with pharmacist and former Missouri state representative James McKinley Neal. Neal discusses his path to Kansas City and the pharmacy business, his service in the state legislature from 1946 to 1964, his sponsorship of civil rights bills, being elected by a primarily white electorate, and witnessing and promoting the desegregation of many public facilities during that time. He notes that he was the first Black person permitted to stay in a white hotel in the state of Missouri, having previously been required to stay in Lincoln University dormitories while in Jefferson City. He also discusses the accomplishments of his family members, his involvement in the Urban League and Martin Luther King Jr. Hospital, and shares thoughts about the Model Cities program, employment, and education.

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Interview with boxing coach Arrington Bubble Klice. Klice discusses his family and background in Arkansas, early childhood in St. Louis, attending school in Kansas City, his involvement in sports including basketball and swimming, his memories of World War I and life during the Depression, working various jobs at St. Regis Hotel, recalls the nightlife and culture in the 18th and Vine neighborhood, and describes his start in boxing in California. He recalls training alongside champion boxers including Jack Johnson, shares his thoughts about other high profile boxers and athletes he coached as well as thoughts about the business and ethics of boxing, and discusses his time in the service during World War II.

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Interview with Ruby Jackson of the Human Resources Corporation. Jackson discusses her early life growing up in Kansas City, Kansas, her memories of the World War II era, nightlife on the Missouri side of the state line in the early 1950s, her thoughts about prominent Black figures including Madam C. J. Walker and Marcus Garvey, marrying, divorcing, and remarrying and having children while working at various jobs, including the Human Resources Corporation. She also discusses her involvement with the Congress of Racial Equity (CORE) and multiple community and political groups, her feelings about contemporary politicians, intellectuals, and activists, and numerous issues of public policy including the Equal Rights Amendment.

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Four part interview with attorney, activist, and former Missouri state representative Harold Holliday, Sr.

In Part 1, Holliday discusses his family and early life living between Oklahoma and Kansas City, growing up in the then-rural Leeds area, his high school and college experiences, the Lloyd Gaines lawsuit, being drafted at the start of World War II, and his experience as a Black soldier stationed in Mississippi.

In Part 2, he discusses his work history, including stints with the Works Progress Administration and Veterans Administration, finishing Officers Candidate School, being stationed in England and Fort Knox, Kentucky, among other locations, and includes some explicit discussion of relationships with women during the war years. He also shares thoughts on the Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Pearl Harbor, Missouri Congressional representative Richard Bolling, the Pendergast era, efforts to make lynching a federal offense, and numerous contemporary politicians.

In Part 3, he discusses the Nixon administration and Watergate, whether America is susceptible to dictatorship, his thoughts on nationally and locally prominent Black intellectuals and entertainers including Paul Robeson, Lucile Bluford, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., and D. A. Holmes, the difficulties and advancement of Black people, including his family members in academics and public life, considers the legal profession and his work in bringing the Kansas City public accommodations ordinance to the Supreme Court, and choosing to leave elected office.

In Part 4, he considers what changes he might make to his life if he could live it over again and whether he believes himself to be a good man, his hopes for the future, more thoughts on the Pendergast era, as well as memories of Harry Truman and other local politicians. He also shares thoughts on civil rights efforts and the US Constitution.

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Interview with Mo-Kan Minority Contractors Association founder Alexander Harris. Harris discusses his early life in West Virginia, leaving the state for Kansas City because his father didn't want his sons working in the coal mines, touring as a musician as a young man, serving as a soldier in the Korean War, entering the building trade with his father after leaving the service, and founding Mo-Kan, an advocacy organization for Black contractors, in the late 1960s.

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Interview with executive director of the Department of Urban Affairs Samuella Gates. Gates discusses her family background in Texas, coming to Kansas City to work as a teacher at the age of 24, working for the local Girl Scouts council and various government jobs, and marrying and moving to Atlanta where she worked in education and job training for adults. She also recalls her memories of the World War II years, including teaching and raising a family in Texas, California, and Arizona, and working with the Model Cities program after returning to Kansas City in the late 1960s. She also discusses her experiences in Kansas City churches, shares her views about past US presidents, prominent Black intellectuals and activists, and local politicians, her thoughts on the women's liberation movement, and her career aspirations and concerns.

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