Best of Kansas City 2021: This ridiculous state turned 200

Illustration by Katelyn Betz

Illustration by Katelyn Betz

On August 10, 1821, Missouri entered into the U.S. as the 24th state—now, 200 years later, we’ve been taking a hard look at the mountains and valleys that pockmark its history.

Missouri’s tendency towards right-wing extremism has been a long-lasting, dangerous malady. Just as the bicentennial year was kicking into gear, white supremacist Josh Hawley launched us into the national spotlight with his raised fist at the Jan. 6 Capital insurrection, as did the McCloskeys with their gun-waving at a BLM protest in St. Louis. 

At the same time, Missouri has been home to many folks whose accomplishments are woven into the weft of our state and nation’s existence. DeRay McKesson: an activist and early leading figure in the BLM movement who worked on the ground in Ferguson after the killing of Michael Brown. Jon D. Barnett: a queer rights advocate and founder of the Human Rights Ordinance Project. Maya Angelou: a poet, actress, activist, and memoirist, known for works including I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. The list goes on and on. 

Happy birthday, Missouri. Bring on the fireworks.

Categories: Culture