National Archives at Kansas City screens The Powerbroker: Whitney Young's Fight for Civil Rights

National Archives at Kansas City News Release

Contact: Kimberlee Ried
National Archives at Kansas City
400 West Pershing Road
Kansas City, MO 64108
(816) 268-8000

National Archives at Kansas City offers screening of The Powerbroker: Whitney Young’s Fight for Civil Rights
Presented within the 20th Century Civil Rights and Liberties Film Series

On Thursday, June 9 at 6:30 p.m., the National Archives at Kansas City will screen the documentary The Powerbroker: Whitney Young’s Fight for Civil Rights. Post-film discussion will be led by Gwen Grant of the Urban League of Greater Kansas City. A free light reception will precede the film at 6 p.m.

Civil rights leader Whitney Young, Jr. has no national holiday bearing his name. You won’t find him in most history books. In fact, few today know his name, much less his accomplishments. But he was at the heart of the civil rights movement – an inside man who broke down the barriers that held back African Americans. Young shook the right hands, made the right deals, and opened the doors of opportunity that had been locked tight through the centuries. Unique among black leaders, the one-time executive director of the National Urban League took the fight directly to the powerful white elite, gaining allies in business and government. In the Oval Office, Young advised presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon, and guided each along a path toward historic change.

The Powerbroker follows Young as he shuttles between the streets of Harlem and the boardrooms of Fortune 500 companies, tying the needs of Main Street to the interests of Wall Street. The film shows the pivotal events of the civil rights era — Brown v. Board of Education, the March on Washington, and the Vietnam War — through the eyes of a man striving to change the established powers in a way no one else could: from within. His close ties with powerful whites sometimes came at a cost, including an attempted assassination described as part of a “black revolutionary plot.” Some called him “Whitey” Young, and mocked him as “the Wall Street of the civil rights movement.” But this didn’t stop his fight, or his legacy. As Nixon said in Young’s eulogy, “He knew how to accomplish what other people were merely for.” This program is part of a series presented in partnership with the Greater Kansas City Black History Study Group.

To make a reservation for this free film program email kansascity.educate@nara.gov or call (816) 268-8000. Requests for ADA accommodations must be submitted five business days prior to events.

The National Archives at Kansas City is home to historical records dating from the 1820s to the 1990s created or received by Federal agencies in Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. For more information, call 816-268-8000 or visit www.archives.gov/kansas-city/.

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