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tv   Kansas City Public Library Tom Pendergast Digital Collection  CSPAN  August 14, 2018 1:20am-1:37am EDT

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>> if they could come back and see america today, and see the most important play on broadway and the last several years is a play that to lionize alexander hamilton to vilify jefferson and ignores pain and the maldistribution of wealth in the united states and the amount of money to american politics today, they would see or fear that many of these things that are going on in the united states today had an uncanny resemblance to the england that they revolted against
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>> from kansas city control in 1925 through 39. the political machine god it start from jim pendergast who came to kansas city in the 1880s and got started establishing this machine with the industrial bottom there is an irish community, african-american community that's very diverse with working-class people and jim pendergast basically has a precinct building that was based on favors.
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helping people get jobs in exchange for votes or help people to get them loan to get a formal bank loan or to settle gambling debts or skimming money of illegal activities such as gambling or prostitution. so when jim pendergast who is getting older and health was failing and his younger brother got started around the 1900s, was elected and they were in charge of streets for a few years and tom pendergast really was in the position to take over the machine by the time jim died in 1911. as a political machine
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basically i describe it as the act of doing favors in exchange for votes. boiling it down to the base elements that is the analogy that it is tied into organized crime, and other illicit activities taking bribes and kickbacks and using influence to make sure candidates are elected in one you controlled the city government the machine had full control over the city five out of nine city council members were hand-picked by tom pendergast and appointed henry mcelroy as city manager in that position
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was more powerful than any of the time. so to be in charge of the day-to-day operations of the city and the four of us hoped the manager would be professional it was very improper. and with city construction projects, mcelroy made sure the contracts went to companies owned by tom pendergast. he owns most of the construction companies. everything from quarries to cement and that is a big one for him. he has insurance companies,
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liquor companies left mac of course which officially they change to leverage companies during prohibition at the time. so all of the but then people were affiliated with the machine to bet that and that was by the precinct and those voters for the opposition. the four people were killed at the fight they can get away
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with it because after 11 were injure injured, people demand they call off the national guard to reestablish order in kansas city. who would do that? the governor of missouri. but he himself was a crony. so the power actually statewide by 1932. when it got guy park elected to have influence through the state of missouri into the national convention, in the 1930s pendergast eventually selected the senator for
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missouri nothing he loves more than a statewide vote. but at this point, but i believe the number produced about 70000 fraudulent or gross votes. so the sheer number produced out of kansas city could be tallied and they were official if they were real or not. have the power to do this.
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and throughout the city you can see the courthouse, municipal auditorium, 10000 seats, is still there and then by 1932 it is impossible to the democratic national convention. that is a big portion of the state legislature. so at some point he racked up by the 1930s. but then the phrase even more money but eventually in the
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light -- the late fort wong -- the late 30s he was involved in the insurance kickback scheme. actually the scheme it's not clear if he broke the law with the scheme itself. i'm not a lawyer so i cannot explain that but it was because he didn't report the income to the irs for income tax on his tax returns. just like out the poem it was the irs that finally caught up with tom pendergast and was indicted 1939. he went to jail at leavenworth the federal penitentiary and pendergast was nothing and he died of natural causes.
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truman came to his funeral he just became vice president and came to his funeral during wartime on a military plane and then this controversy. and then week later he dies and truman is president of the united states. so truman so what we are trying to do is complicate that history and i've done that a little bit with this interview but we are building a website that will include
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currently we have 9500 scams with letters they had written to one another and it is an interactive website to combine with new scholarship so we reached out in 2015 to 18 different professors that were professionals or historians to produce? there are new ideas or topics that have not been explored in any type of depth. we are taking website versions
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and those would go on the website. >> so element that looks something like this. when the graphics are finished. we have eight or nine different categories. and with the kansas city jazz. with labor and industry and
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race relations we have bitten off a lot but to focus on pendergast and the machine and with those implications of the 20s and 30s other p, and when we look at jazz we are most interested from the perspective of the machine. how did they enable a culture the wide open town and looking with that aspect and how it
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ties to get her. but that is with tom pendergast coming up and got their start. and then to click and go back to the documents to documents and essays with a timeline and with those connections within the machine and with the graphic it is difficult and
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with that immersive experience to give people with that time.
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>> the american sunbelt


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