Emanuel Cleaver

Emanuel Cleaver II was born on October 26, 1944. He is a United Methodist pastor, an American politician, and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.  Cleaver currently represents Missouri’s 5th congressional district, where he has served since 2005.  The district includes the southern three-fourths of Kansas City, including the area south of the Missouri River, as well as the more rural counties of Lafayette, Ray, and Saline east of Jackson.  Cleaver is a member of the Democratic Party, and in January 2010, he became chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Cleaver previously served on the Kansas City Council from 1979 to 1991 until he was elected Mayor, serving from 1991 to 1999. In 2004, Cleaver was elected to represent Missouri‘s 5th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Cleaver was born in Waxahachie, Texas, the son of Marie and Lucky G. Cleaver.  He grew up in public housing in Wichita Falls, Texas, then graduated from Prairie View A&M University, where he became a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.  Cleaver then moved to Kansas City, where he founded a branch of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and received a Master of Divinity degree from St. Paul School of Theology.

Early Career of Emanuel Cleaver II

Cleaver served as Kansas City Councilman from 1979 to 1991 and as Mayor of Kansas City for two terms from 1991 until 1999.  Cleaver holds the distinction of being the first African American Mayor of Kansas City.  Cleaver has voted with the Democratic Party 95.8% of the time and has been recognized as a congressman who is “not shy about earmarks” and has brought many tax dollars back to Kansas City.

Career Controversy of Emanuel Cleaver II

On April 6, 2012, the Kansas City Star reported that Bank of America had sued Cleaver Company LLC over a commercial real estate loan for a Grandview car wash.  In a lawsuit filed March 30, Bank of America said Cleaver, his wife Dianne, and the company owed over $1.46 million on the loan.

2008 Democratic Presidential Primary Election

During the 2008 Democratic Presidential Primary, Cleaver endorsed Hillary Clinton.  Cleaver claimed that African American super-delegates who supported Clinton were subjected to threats and harassment.  He said they were also told, “You’re not black if you’re not supporting Barack Obama.”

On March 30, 2008, he was interviewed on The Sunday Edition on CBC Radio and said he realized he was on the losing team: “Even though I don’t expect the Kansas City Chiefs to beat the Indianapolis Colts, I cheer for the Kansas City Chiefs.”  According to BlackMissouri.com, U.S. Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. of Illinois asked Cleaver, “If it comes down to the last day and you’re the only superdelegate? … Do you want to go down in history as the one to prevent a black from winning the White House?”  “I told him I’d think about it,” Cleaver explained. Cleaver stated during the primary race that he’d be shocked if Obama wasn’t the next President but was adamant that he still supported Clinton until she officially suspended her bid.


Emanuel Cleaver and his wife, Dianne, have four children.  They reside in Kansas City. On June 25, 2000, a road in Kansas City was renamed Emanuel Cleaver II Boulevard.  The new route consisted of Brush Creek Blvd., E. 47th St., and the portion of Van Brunt Blvd. south of 31st St.