A Legacy of Leadership
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.
In a discussion of his new film A Legacy of Leadership, local filmmaker Emiel Cleaver examines Jordan’s career and enduring legacy. He became Kansas City’s first African American police lieutenant before helping to launch Freedom Inc., which sought to empower the African American community by impacting public policy and developing Black candidates for political office. Jordan’s election to Missouri’s House of Representatives, and impact there until his still-unsolved murder, capped an extraordinary life dedicated to civil rights and racial equality.
Cleaver, the son of former Kansas City mayor and current U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II, previously produced and directed Freedom is Now: A History of Freedom, Inc. and An Activist for the People, a documentary about civic leader Bruce R. Watkins.
The Missouri Valley Sundays presentation on Jordan is co-presented by the Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area as part of a grant to engage the community in discussions of race and equality. It’s among a series of Library events commemorating Black History Month in February.
Watch it live online at YouTube.com/kclibrary.