The National Conference of Christians and Jews later found a home for its Kansas City chapter at 916 Walnut Street. In 1953, the National Conference of Christians and Jews established its annual citation dinner in Kansas City. In March of 1955, Harry S. Truman attended, addressing an audience of around 600 people. Truman took a stand against religious persecution, and against political campaigns which use religion to advance the agenda of the state.  Truman stated that such acts were, “not only morally wrong but indicative of a new barbarism, more terrible than that of ancient times.” Resistance to these tactics, he believed, could only come from those who used faith to foster brotherhood among men and fatherhood of God.[1] The 1957 NCCJ Brotherhood Citation Dinner, held at the Hotel Muehlebach Grand Ballroom, was sponsored by the professions, industrial, and commercial firms of the Kansas City area. Sponsors included Kansas City Power and Light Company, Hallmark Cards Incorporated, Country Club Plaza Merchants, KCMO Broadcasting Division, Kansas City Life Insurance Company, Kansas City Southern Lines, the Kansas City Star, and J.C. Nichols Co. [2]

The KCNCCJ operated a year-round educational program designed to “support the ideals of brotherhood and sound human relations.” This program was “for people who seek to translate the universal truths of brotherhood into positive action.” This outreach involved 183 school principals, 1000 teachers, and 271 churches. Advertising reached three television stations, 37 radio stations, five daily newspapers, 41 weekly newspapers, 55 company publications and 14 high school papers. The KCNCCJ collaborated with community leadership in intergroup work and cooperated with public, private and parochial schools around teaching better human relations. The KCNCCJ educated 15,000 youth through mass media and cooperated with city and government agencies to build better police-community relations. They provided programming for 78 civic and service organizations and built a community among local churches.[3]

The work of National Conference of Christians and Jews was expansive, and included vast issues of social justice, such as race, class, gender, sexual orientation and the rights of people with different abilities. In 1998, the NCCJ changed their name to “the National Conference for Community and Justice.” The change was prompted by the need for a name which better reflected the mission of the organization; it also addressed the need to promote inclusivity. As the NCCJ sought to promote inclusion and acceptance through education and advocacy, new programs began to emerge.[4] As NCCJ hit turmoil at the national level, the Kansas City branch separated, and was sued by the national group. The Kansas City group merged with KC Harmony in 2005. While the Kansas City office no longer exists, the NCCJ presence has shifted into Anytown Kansas City.[5] This national initiative began in 1992 and emerged from the struggles of the civil rights era. The NCCJ led many of the camps across the United States, and in the greater Kansas City area.[6] Over the past two years, Anytown Kansas City has been run by local volunteers, with assistance from NCCJ St. Louis.[7]

[1] Hutchinson, Paul. “N.C.C.J. Awards Citations to Three Kansas Citians.” News of the Christian World, v. 72, 9 March 1955: 308-309.

[2] The National Conference of Christians and Jews. The Brotherhood Citation Dinner sponsored by the professions, industrial and commercial firms in the Kansas City area. Kansas City: The National Conference of Christians and Jews, 24 April 1957.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Rangel, Juan, interview by Geneva Blackmer. 2018. History of the NCCJ in Kansas City (December 18).

[5] NCCJ St. Louis. 2018. Anytown Kansas City. Accessed December 17, 2018.

[6] Sanchez, Mary. 2017. “Anytown program changed many teens’ lives and perspectives, so bravo to its revival.” The Kansas City Star. January 05. Accessed December 17, 2018.

[7] Rangel, Juan, interview by Geneva Blackmer. 2018. History of the NCCJ in Kansas City (December 18).