The Rev. Emmanuel Cleaver II was elected as the mayor of the City of Kansas City, Missouri in 1991. At the time of his election, the black population in Kansas City was approximately 15 percent and the fact that not all blacks are registered to vote or take the time to vote indicates that black support was even less than 15 percent.
Mayor Cleaver implemented meaningful programming and policies in the City of Kansas City, Missouri, including the Mayor’s Task Force on Race Relations, which is said to have become the prototype for President Clinton’s Race Initiative.
He further played a strategic role in convincing voters that the City’s mayor should not simply be called upon as a figurehead — the voters believed that a mayor who was in a position to exercise a greater amount of power could be more effective.
Mayor Cleaver was known throughout the nation as having been chair of the National Conference of Black Mayors, and had influential ties with our nation’s capital. Mayor Cleaver’s dedication to his constituents and the city he loves made the decide for him to remain in Kansas City, though he was courted by Washington politicos who were impressed by his effectiveness, charm and compassion, integrity and ability to understand the public needs.
Mayor Cleaver was elected to another term and because of term limits, he did not run in the April, 1999 election. The citizens of Kansas City have such great respect for and express an enormous amount of gratitude to the Rev. Emmanuel Cleaver; therefore, a boulevard was named for Rev. Cleaver immediately after he stepped down from his second term as the First Black Mayor of Kansas City, Missouri.