Alex Harris, 90yrs was born on May 30th, 1930 to the union of Rayford Harris Sr. and Fannie Mae (Green) Harris in Kistler, West Virginia. He is preceded in death by his parents, two brothers Ray Harris Jr, Sylvester Harris and one sister, Lorraine Brooks. He leaves to cherish his memories his wife Darlene Harris, children Larry & Kala Harris, Myron &Penny McCant of Kansas City, MO his daughters Candice Harris Las Vegas, Nevada and Ebony Beattle St. Louis MO a sister Juanita Gibson, Kansas City MO. Alex had 13 grandchildren and a host of great grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.
Alex was viewed as the “Father Figure” to the entire family in many respects. As the corner stone, he was everything to everybody. Whether the needs were cars, houses, furniture food or employment, he was always there to fulfill the need. The girls/ladies in the family affectionately understood his favorite request upon approaching his presence, “WHERES MY SUGA”?.......Hold ya neck up!! (Smiles)
Many of the men in the family became craftsmen of the construction trade initiated and trained by Alex himself.
He grew up in Kistler West Virginia where he attended grade school and was relocated by his father to Kansas City in 1942. He attended High School at RT Cole Vocational Services. While taking an interest in music as a trumpet player, his real passion for construction was developed from the various carpentry and craft courses obtained there. From there his father known as “Pops” recognized his skills and natural ability for construction and developed a business that would become known as “Harris & Sons Construction”. Shortly thereafter, he found himself working with his father hanging wallpaper and painting after school and weekends in various neighborhoods throughout the Kansas City area.
As his knowledge grew for the trade, so did his understanding and awareness for racial inequality and disparities within the industry regarding minority contractors. His indelible commitment organically created within him, an advocate that was willing to die for the cause. Alex Harris was known by many as the “God Father” of the Civil Rights and Contractual Rights Movement within the Construction industry. Mr. Harris founded Mo-Kan Minority Contractors Association in 1970, where he served as Executive Director with satellite offices in Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, and Nebraska with constituents that totaled greater than 170,000 businesses along with their employee members.
Mo-Kan was that entity that provided technical assistance, construction contract opportunities and minority participation too small to medium minority contractors within the region and opportunities to all construction projects within the 4-state region all motivated and facilitated by Ex-Councilman Charles Hazley Mr. Harris proports. The organization had a profound net result to the construction industry that produced 52% of all minority construction in the US with gross revenues exceeding $850M.
Alex contributes much of his knowledge, application, and introduction of the construction industry to the mentorship of Bill Dunn Sr, of JE Dunn Construction Company, Ex-Senator Bob Dole, and Ex-Senator Kit Bond.
His commitment to the minority construction industry continued well into his senior years where the Mo-Kan mantra was re-branded as NACCC. National Association of Construction Contractors Cooperation, where he served as the National Administrator. These initiatives founders were Alex Harris, Aamir Muhammad and Sam Cornelius, Deputy Secretary to the Department of Agriculture. Mr. Harris had uncompromising passion, love, and respect for the small-medium contractors seeking opportunities in this vocation. Mr. Harris’s voice and presence were resounding in the role he served and will forever be missed.
Funeral Services will be held at 1PM on Saturday, October 17th at Watkins Heritage Chapel 4000 Emanuel Cleaver Blvd. KCMO 64130. Visitation 11AM.
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