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This memorial commemorates the life and legacy of one of Kansas City's leading African American activists. Bernard Powell was born in 1947 and beginning at the young age of 13 became involved with the Civil Rights movement. He joined Martin Luther King in the march to Selma and in the mid-1960s became the director of the Congress of Racial Equality. He then co-founded the organization, the Social Action Committee of 20, in 1968, which focuses on teaching leadership skills and job training. During the following years he was on several committees such as the Governor’s Advisory Council on Comprehensive Health Planning for Missouri and the Human Resources Corporation. He would often wear a black beret with a five-pointed star, which gave some observers that he was a militant activist. Tragically, Powell was shot and killed by a member of the Social Action Committee of 20 in 1979 at a social club (it is not clear as to what the motive was for his murder). His dream of becoming Missouri's first black governor was abruptly cut short.


  • The Bernard Powell Memorial commemorates the short, but influential life of Civil Rights activist Bernard Powell.

Photo: Bradley Cramer, via KC Fountains
  • Bernard Powell
The memorial is located in Spring Valley Park on the eastern side at the corner of Brooklyn Avenue and E. 28th Street. In consists of a pyramid-shaped fountain with a statue of Powell on top. Water flows down the pyramid into a hexagonal-shaped pool. A time capsule is located on the ground near the fountain that will be opened in 2041. Several plaques are placed around the memorial; two describe Powell's life and others list those who helped contribute to the memorial, which was installed in 1985. The statue was installed in 1991.
"Bernard Powell Memorial Fountain." KC Fountains. September 4, 2016. http://www.kcfountains.com/single-post/2016/09/04/Bernard-Powell-Memorial-Fountain.

"Bradley Powell, A Frontline Activist." African American Registry.  Accessed May 18, 2017.  http://www.aaregistry.org/historic_events/view/bernard-powell-frontline-activist.

Riley, Kimberley. "Bernard Powell, Civil Rights Activist (1974-1979)." Missouri Valley Special Collections - Kansas City Public Library. 1999. http://www.kchistory.org/cgi-bin/showfile.exe?CISOROOT=/Biographies&CISOPTR=87&filename=88.pdf. 
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