The Jackson County Bar Association (JCBA) was created at a time when African-American lawyers could not join the American Bar Association or the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association. It was not until the early 1950s that the ABA and other bar associations finally allowed African Americans to join.

The JCBA was created to not only ensure justice and equal opportunity to African-Americans, but also to be a resource for African-American lawyers and community members in the Kansas City area.

Lawyers in good standing with a state bar, students at an ABA-accredited law school and businesses who work with lawyers may be eligible to become JCBA members. Members have access to exclusive opportunities through job postings, national networking, mentoring, leadership development and free bimonthly continuous education classes.

In addition to working as a resource, the association is also vocal about protecting the civil and political rights of Missouri citizens. In a statement in response to the recent deaths of African Americans at the hands of police officers, the association said they were outraged. “Immediate actions can be taken in our community beginning with restoring trust in the investigations of officer-involved homicides and excessive use of force cases by the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department,” JCBA’s statement said.

The association also suggested Kansas City citizens use their voices for positive change and contact the mayor and their council members demanding police accountability and local control of KCPD.

Currently led by President Shaun Stallworth and Vice President Ebonie Davis, the association also hosts a variety of classes that are free and open to the public, taught by judges and licensed attorneys. Those classes cover many aspects of law including juvenile law, landlord-tenant law, criminal law, family law, and even how to get out of jury duty.

Each year, the association also organize their Judge Kit Carson Roque Jr. Scholarship Banquet, which is their primary fundraising event. Roque was an African-American graduate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City Law School, a former member of JCBA and a civil rights leader. The funds raised from the banquet are used for scholarships for minority law students in the Kansas City area.

JCBA is also involved in numerous community events. Most recently, the association partnered with Black Excellence KC to host a voter registration drive on Juneteenth.

Stay up to date for other upcoming events on their website,

Jazzlyn Johnson is a Report for America corps member based at The Community Voice covering Kansas City’s African-American community.

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Jazzlyn Johnson

Jazzlyn "Jazzie” is the former senior reporter for our team, who joined the company in 2020 in the midst of the pandemic, through the Report for America service program. For the past two years, she covered...

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