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Gertrude Keith (Housing Activist)

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Gertrude Keith (1914 – 2009) worked for many years to ensure that Kansas City’s black and poor population had access to safe and affordable housing.

Early Life[edit]

Raised by relatives after the deaths of her parents, she experienced segregation in her youth in addition to Klan activity. Keith attended Lincoln High School.


Keith studied music at the University of Nebraska, where she met her husband, jazz musician Jimmy Keith.

Wayne Miner Courts Housing Development[edit]

In Kansas City, Keith found work with the city’s housing department. She was appointed the first director of the Wayne Miner Courts housing development in 1960. She eventually retired as an associate director of the Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority.


In 2003, the research library at the Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage Center was named for her.[1]

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  1. "Black History Stories". Local Investment Commission. Retrieved 2021-01-11.