April 29, 2015
33 minutes 01 seconds (33:01)
On March 26, 2015, Missouri Secretary of State hosted a program in recognition of Women’s History Month highlighting the role Kansas City women played in bringing down the Pendergast political machine. Former Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes spoke about Civic Housekeepers and More: Kansas City Women v. Pendergast. In the 1920s and ‘30s, "Boss Tom" Pendergast's political machine controlled Kansas City, giving the Paris of the Plains an infamous reputation for supporting illegal liquor, gambling and vice. Barnes shared stories of women who worked to stop the corruption, eventually ending years of machine rule in the city. Women were an essential part of the campaign to recall the Pendergast-backed mayor and city council, even after the boss went to prison in 1939. Using the campaign slogan "ballots and brooms versus bosses and bullets," women’s groups wore a pin shaped like a broom to show their support for non-Pendergast candidates. Under the leadership of Ms. Claude Gorton, these groups became increasingly organized prior to the 1940 election, when their get-out-to-vote effort resulted in a defeat of the machine.
The Office of the Missouri Secretary of State and Missouri Archives make NO WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, regarding the accuracy, reliability, completeness, timeliness or applicability for a particular purpose of the information contained in this video and make no endorsement of the opinions of the presenter offered therein. This video is being offered as it was recorded during the live presentation. The video is being provided for your convenience and entertainment and may contain opinions and viewpoints that may not be the opinions and viewpoints of the Office of the Missouri Secretary of State and Missouri Archives.