Kansas City 1940: A Watershed Year
1940: It's the year Nazis rain bombs on London and goose-step into Paris, when President Roosevelt wins an unprecedented third term and Kansas Citians finally run the corrupt Pendergast political machine out of power. The new reform-minded city government is bent on cleaning up the sinful "Paris of the Plains" and streamlining its future with wide, new miles of trafficways. Notorious nightclubs have closed. The City Market opens. Glenn Miller swings, Bojangles taps and "Gone with the Wind" premieres. Old buildings make way for parking lots. A dying meteor lights up the night sky above a racially segregated city, home to Charlie Parker, Thomas Hart Benton, Walter Cronkite, Satchel Paige and Thomas J. Pendergast, ex-con. It's all on display here in photographs snapped by WPA workers and stories curated by John Simonson.