Kinloch | St. Louis Public Radio


Alana Woodson, who goes by Alana Marie professionally, interviews John Wright, former superintendent of the Kinloch School District, for her film project.
The Kinloch Doc

The story that Alana Woodson has devoted so much of her time over the past few years to telling is far from a simple one. After all, it’s about Kinloch, Missouri, a once-thriving suburb that has nearly disappeared. Her father’s childhood home there is no more. And what was once a community of 6,500 black St. Louisans has dwindled to less than 200 residents today.

But Woodson, who goes by Alana Marie professionally, has stayed the course, interviewing dozens of people and gathering countless hours of footage for her ongoing documentary project, “The Kinloch Doc.”

A short version of the film was screened at festivals in 2018 and 2019 and is available to view online. The feature-length iteration is currently in its rough-cut stage, and Woodson has been crowdfunding to help cover post-production expenses. She and her team launched a Kickstarter campaign April 10, and with just a handful of days left to raise funds, they’ve now surpassed their goal of $20,000, drawing support from several hundred backers.

"Where The Pavement Ends" sheds light on the decline of the city of Kinloch and how the roadblock contributed to the fall of the city and the killing of Michael Brown Jr.
Jane Gillooly

As a child, filmmaker and artist Jane Gillooly was oblivious to the fact that Ferguson was an all-white town during the Jim Crow era. Gillooly did not realize this until the day she went home with her babysitter. 

Her sitter lived in Kinloch — Missouri's first incorporated black city. It borders Ferguson. 

At the age of 5, her parents had yet to discuss why blacks and whites were segregated, but she recalls asking the sitter, 'Why does everyone look the same in Kinloch?' and her babysitter said, 'Because all these people are Negroes.'"

Alana Marie's grandfather settled in Kinloch in 1948, and the family lived there until 1988. In this mid-1970s photo, her uncle, pictured in a white T-shirt, kneels on the sidewalk near the left side.
Provided | Alana Marie

When Alana Marie was growing up in Hazelwood, she listened to stories of her father’s happy childhood in nearby Kinloch during the 1970s and '80s. 

By the time she was born in 1990, Kinloch had deteriorated. Now, the African American city that formerly boasted thousands of residents is home to just a few hundred.  

Marie’s curiosity about the family’s roots drove her to make a documentary about the once-vibrant city. Its demise came after schools were desegregated in the 1970s and the Kinloch school system closed.

File photo | Rachel Heidenry | St. Louis Beacon

Updated 3:25 p.m. May 4 - Former Kinloch Mayor Darren Small, who lost on April 7, has filed a court petition that contests the election and alleges vote fraud.  The winning candidate, Betty McCray, is threatening legal action if she isn't soon allowed to get into City Hall.

Small's petition was filed in St. Louis Circuit Court last week, soon after the county Election Board presented the results of its house-to-house survey with county Prosecutor Bob McCulloch.

(via Flickr/kenteegardin)

A statewide review of tax rates issued today by Missouri auditor Tom Schweich finds that residents in six St. Louis-area districts are paying too much in property taxes.

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Back in August, Kinloch, Mo. mayor Keith Conway pled guilty to three federal charges and news today comes regarding his punishment.

According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Eastern District of Missouri, Conway was sentenced to 21 months in jail and must pay restitution of $62,429 on charges of using city funds for personal expenses. The sentence was also due to Conway's attempt to "to influence Kinloch City Officials to provide false information to federal law enforcement about the criminal charges pending against him."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 23, 2011 - Federal authorities have announced that Kinloch Mayor Keith Conway has "entered a guilty plea to charges of using Kinloch city funds to pay personal expenses, fund personal travel, and purchase a Florida vacation condominium timeshare." Conway also pleaded guilty to pressing Kinloch officials to lie to federal investigators.

Updated: Kinloch mayor pleads guilty to three federal charges

Aug 23, 2011

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Updated 11:39 a.m. with story including guilty plea

The mayor of the impoverished St. Louis County town of Kinloch faces sentencing in November after pleading guilty to three federal charges.

Keith Conway admitted in his plea that he used city money for things such as Caribbean cruises, a time-share condominium in Florida and even to pay electric bills and delinquent income taxes.

He was indicted in the spring for wire fraud, federal program theft and witness tampering.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 7, 2011 - Kinloch Mayor Keith Conway is now in deeper trouble with federal authorities, who have announced they have added "witness tampering'' to the charges he faces for alleged misuse of government money.

According to the U.S. attorney's office, the witness tampering charge stems from Conway's actions the day after his earlier indictment. 

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Updated at 12:47 p.m. June 3:

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Conway has now also been put on house arrest "for distributing packets to aldermen declaring his innocence despite a judge's orders to avoid city hall and contact with municipal officials."

Original Story:

A little over  a week after Kinloch, Mo. mayor Keith Conway was indicted on charges that he embezzled city money for personal use, Conway has been issued a superseding indictment for witness tampering.

The witness tampering charge is on top of the two previous charges, one felony count of Wire Fraud and one felony count of Federal Program Theft.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 23, 2011 - Kinloch Mayor Keith Conway faces a federal indictment that accuses him of improperly using city money for personal expenses, including utility bills, vacation cruises to the Bahamas, and buying a time-share condominium in Florida.

According to the office of U.S. Attorney Richard G. Callahan this morning, Conway was misspending money as late as March 31.

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The location of Kinloch, Mo. Kinloch's mayor, Keith Conway, has been indicted on charges that he embezzled city funds.

The mayor of Kinloch, Mo. in St. Louis County is now facing charges that he embezzled city money for personal use.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 5, 2008 - KINLOCH - Many of the "Garden Boys" had their crops in the ground when "no trespassing" signs went up. Those signs said who the neighboring developers are, but it wasn't clear to the gardeners who owned the land and whether the garden could stay.