In 1925, an organized Council of Churches was formed in Kansas City, MO consisting of white Protestant Churches.[1] * The Kansas City Council of Churches launched an Interracial Commission lead by Rev. A.J. Dahlby in 1934. On February 9-11, the conference “Toward the Understanding and Improvement of Race Relations” was held at the Y.W.C.A. located at 1020 McGee Street. The conference was free, and organized in cooperation with the Health Conservation Association, Paseo Y.W.C.A., and the Urban League. The president of the Council during this time was Dr. Edmund Janes Kulp, and Rev. Irvin E. Deer functioned as General Secretary. The guest speaker was Dr. T. Earl Sullenger, Director of the Department of Sociology at the Municipal University of Omaha. Organizers of the conference believed, “To improve the relations between races requires not merely goodwill and kindly sentiment but understanding and knowledge. The interracial commission of the Kansas City council of churches has arranged a conference in which facts will be presented on which a practical program of interracial activity may be intelligently projected.”[2]

The following year, in 1935, an Inter-racial conference, sponsored by the Race Relations Committee of the Federal Council of Churches, was held in Kansas City. The conference took place on February 7-8, under the theme, “The Christian Way to Racial Understanding.” The event returned to the Paseo Y.M.C.A. on February 8th, but held the Mass Meeting, on February 7th, at Centennial M.E. Church (19th and Woodland Avenue). During this time, the President of the Council of Churches was Rev. Walter H. North. Rev. Albert J. Dahlby lead the Race Relations Committee, and Mr. Thomas A. Webster lead the Secretary Committee. Topics discussed were “The Cooperation of Churches” and “The Contribution of the church to social justice.”[3]



* This report on the Kansas City Council of Churches is meant to be illustrative, due to limited information available.

[1] Guillot, Larry, interview by Geneva Blackmer. 2016. Interfaith History in Kansas City (February 15).

[2] Kansas City Council of Churches. Toward the Understanding and Improvement of Race Relations: A Conference. 1934: Employment Health Housing, February 9-11, 1934.

[3] Federal Council of Churches, Kansas City. Program: Inter-Racial Conference. 1935: The Soujourner Press, February 7-8, 1935.