Bernard Powell Memorial Fountain sits across from his childhood home

Posted at 1:28 PM, Apr 28, 2017
and last updated 2019-03-07 13:17:42-05

The Bernard Powell Memorial Fountain sits in Spring Valley Park, across the street from Powell’s childhood home. 

Powell was a Kansas City native and a social activist.

He was interested in civil rights work and joined the NAACP at 13 years old. He also joined Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the March to Selma, Alabama, according to the Missouri Valley Special Collections.

Powell and others formed the Social Action Committee of 20 in October 1968. The organization's early efforts aimed at teaching leadership and job training skills to black youth. 

The Missouri Valley Special Collections said Powell received many honors, including "Outstanding Man of the Year" by the National Junior Chamber of Commerce and the National Jefferson Award for public service. 

Powell was shot to death in 1979 at Papa Doc's East Side Social Club at 27th and Indiana. He was 32 years old. 

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The Action Committee for Social Change raised $170,000 for a fountain in Powell's memory, according to the Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department.

The fountain and the plaza were installed in 1985. A bronze statue of Powell was installed in 1991. 

KC Parks said the fountain also has a time capsule that will be opened in 2041.