History of KC Freedom Schools

The Kansas City CDF Freedom Schools® Initiative began with the Mt. Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church Freedom School. The idea of having a Freedom School at Mt. Pleasant began when Dwayne Crompton and Tom Rhone attended a Children’s Defense Fund Conference in North Carolina in 1995. Upon their return, they sent Carolyn Booker to the Freedom School training session at the Haley Farm owned by the Children’s Defense Fund in Clinton,Tennessee. She returned excited and determined to bring the Freedom School concept to Mt. Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church and to Kansas City.

As with all major endeavors, Mrs. Booker needed partners, so she turned to her Pastor at Mt. Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church, the Rev. L. Henderson Bell. They worked with her fellow church member, Mr. Dwayne Crompton, who, as the Executive Director of KCMC Child Development Corporation, had dedicated his life to young children; and Mr. Tom Rhone, an executive of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

As a result of this collaboration of values and dreams, Mt. Pleasant became the first Freedom School to be established in the state of Missouri in the summer of 1995. That launched our Kansas City CDF Freedom Schools® Initiative, thirty years after the Freedom Summer that launched one of the most successful educational and social experiments in the nation’s history. It was formed as a joint venture of the Children’s Defense Fund’s Black Community Crusade for Children, located in Washington, DC, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the Mount Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church, and the KCMC Child Development Corporation.

Since then, the Kansas City CDF Freedom Schools® Initiative has grown steadily, adding multiple sites each year. After five years as the sole Freedom School in Kansas City, in 2000, Mt. Pleasant was joined by two other religious organizations: St. James United Methodist Church in Kansas City, Missouri, as well as King Solomon BaptistChurch in Kansas City, Kansas. Several additional sites were added between 2003-2007. These include:

*Jamison Memorial Temple CME Church
*Second Missionary Baptist Church
*Calvary Temple Baptist Church
*Central States Conference – SDA Church
*St. Peter CME Church
*Palestine Missionary Baptist Church
*Zion Grove Missionary Baptist Church
*Mt. Olive Baptist Church
*Pleasant Green Baptist Church
*Shalom Baptist Church
Christian Fellowship Baptist Church
Grace United Community Ministries
*Centennial United Methodist Church.
*New Haven Baptist Church
Rainbow Mennonite Church
*Second Baptist Church
*Bethel-House of Prayer Church
*Community Missionary Baptist Church
*Kansas City Community Church
Oak Ridge Baptist Church

With the six sites in St. Louis, Missouri, Freedom Schools have grown and are bearing fruit in the states of Kansas
and Missouri!

As the work continues, we have reached a total of 19 Freedom Schools in the Program. With the generous support
of the Kauffman Foundation, the Kansas City CDF Freedom Schools® Initiative is positioned to expand its mission
and core values, which are:

All children can learn when they are nurtured and taught by knowledgeable and caring adults who
believe in them and who are committed to sharing with them the joy of learn
Children must be listened to, treated with respect, and offered opportunities to learn about their rich culture and heritage.
Reading is one of several keys that unlock the door to a child’s potential.
Parents are vital partners in their children’s education.


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