Black History Month: Police detective and political leader Leon Jordan

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - KC native Leon Jordan was said to be one of the most powerful African-Americans in the state of Missouri in 1970, according to David Conrads of the Missouri Valley Special Collection

In 1938, he joined the Kansas City Police Department and served for 16 years. He was the first African-American to achieve the rank of lieutenant.

Jordan then spent 8 years in Liberia reorganizing a 450 man police force.

In 1962, he co-founded the black political club, Freedom Inc., with Bruce Watkins. It aimed to give black voters more influence and develop black candidates for office. The club conducted one of the largest voter registration drives ever seen in KC.

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In 1964 Jordan was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives. He served three terms.

Unfortunately, Jordan was murdered on July 15, 1970 outside the Green Duck Club in KC.

After 40 years, the cold case squad cracked Jordan’s murder case in 2010. Police reopened the case after a Kansas City Star report.

Investigators believe Jordan’s ties to the black mafia led to his death. The suspects, James “Monk” Johnson, James “Doc” Dearborn, and Robert “Bob” Willis have all since passed away.

 

It's Black History Month. Learn about other prominent African-Americans in the Kansas City area:

Black History Month: Father of Kansas City barbeque Henry Perry

Black History Month: The Father of Negro Leagues Baseball Andrew "Rube" Foster

Black History Month: KC civil rights activist & journalist Lucile H. Bluford

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