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Kansas City mourns pioneer, activist Carol Coe’s passing

Coe broke barriers, affected change for KCMO
Carol Coe.jpg
Carol Coe lifetime achievment.jpg
Posted at 7:17 PM, Feb 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-15 20:17:47-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City, Missouri, community mourned the loss of former 3rd District City Councilwoman Carol Coe on Monday.

Coe, who grew up on the city’s east side, dedicated a half-century of her life to public service in KCMO. She died Sunday.

She was the city’s first Black assistant city attorney, served in the Jackson County Legislature and ultimately joined the city council in 1991.

Coe helped establish the Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey dance program and founded the Green Acres Community Garden and Research Project, which helps provide nutrition education and healthy food options in KCMO’s urban core.

She also served with Freedom Inc., the Black Archives of Mid-America and the Kansas City Tomorrow.

The Heartland Black Chamber of Commerce issued a statement that “celebrates the extraordinary life of this remarkable woman who devoted her life to Politics, Civil Rights, and the protection of the community and people she loved dearly.”

Coe — a devoted mother, brilliant lawyer and passionate community activist and advocate, who constantly worked to improve KCMO’s east side — received the Charles Hazley Fearless Leader Award from the KCMO City Council in 2015.

The city council named the bridge at East 19th and Vine streets — the “Carol Coe Bridge of Opportunity” — in her honor in October 2020.

The Heartland Chamber lauded Coe’s “many years of hard work and determination” to make a positive impact.

“Carol Coe never gave up and will be missed by us all,” the Heartland Chamber said. “Gone, but never ever forgotten.”

Mayor Quinton Lucas also reflected on her service to KCMO in expressing his condolences.

“Carol Coe, a proud mother, councilwoman, attorney and longtime community leader, was devoted to improving life for all Kansas Citians,” Lucas said on Facebook. “She served us all well. I will miss her greatly and grieve alongside her family and many friends.”

KCMO Councilwoman Melissa Robinson said Coe was a role model and trailblazer for Black women and mothers in politics and community service in the city.

“I can’t say that I will ever be as savvy and politically brilliant, but I will say, her service has empowered me to be fearless and unapologetic about serving those who often feel voiceless and standing up for truth and righteousness. #FightLikeCarol,” Robinson said.

Alissia Canady, former city councilwoman and one-time mayoral candidate, also praised Coe’s dedication and fight.

Sen. Roy Blunt, a Missouri Republican, also remarked on Coe’s passing.

“Carol Coe was a good friend and always dedicated to the work at hand,” he said in a statement. “One time when I asked her what I could do to help her, she said, ‘I’d like a tractor.’ The need for a tractor was part of Carol’s urban agriculture project and before long she had one. Abby and I join her family and the Kansas City community in mourning her loss.”