Lawrence Blankinship, Sr.

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Lawrence Blankinship, Sr. was born in Lake Charles, Louisiana on September 8, 1913. He was the youngest of three children. He moved to Kansas City, Missouri as a young teenager and graduated from Lincoln High School. After graduating from High School, he attended School of Pharmacy and continued working at Crown Drug Stores, becoming a manager at the store at 18th & Vine.

In April 1944, he and fellow Crown Drug Store manager Fred Meyers started Blankinship & Meyers Jobbers. Fred Meyers left the company a short time later because of health reasons and the company’s name changed to Blankinship Distributors. G. Lawrence Blankinship, Sr. was known as a pioneer in the beauty and barber supply industry marketing products to African-Americans. He developed a national reputation for hard work, integrity, fairness and for assembling a loyal and capable staff.

Lawrence Blankinship, Sr. was a leader in many civic and community endeavors, including: City Councilman for Kansas City, Missouri; one of the organizers of Twin City Federal Savings & Loan the first black-owned and operated financial institution in Kansas City, Missouri; Board of Directors of Douglass State Bank; one of the organizers, original Board Members and Chairman of the Black Economic Union; Board of Directors of Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce; Kansas City Board of Election Commissioners; Ottawa University Board of Trustees; Rockhurst University Board of Regents; Rotary Club; Midwesterners Club; Board of Directors of Notre Dame de Sion; Chairman of Martin Luther King Hospital; Board of Directors of KCCID; Land Clearance Redevelopment Authority; Civic Council of Greater Kansas City and more. He was the recipient of numerous awards, including: Paseo Baptist Church Outstanding Service Award; Ivanhoe Club Man of the Year; Black Economic Union Minority Business Award; Operation PUSH Champion of Excellence Award; Black Archives Business Award; National Beauty Culturists League Living Legacy Award; Jordan McNeal Community Service Award from the Missouri Legislative Black Caucus; AHBAI Industry Pioneer Award; Executive Trade Association Leadership Award; Midwesterners Club 50th Anniversary Legacy Award; H.W. Sewing Award; Jackson County 175th Anniversary Honor Roll and more.

To commemorate his legacy as an entrepreneur and community leader in the Historic Vine District, in 2003 he was honored with a street sign naming Vine Street from 19th to 21st Street, Honorary “G.L. Blankinship, Sr. Avenue.”