Gary Jenkins grew up in rural Missouri, the descendant of farmers, teachers, and others who loved the land and its history. His background includes a 25-year career as a police officer in Kansas City, Missouri, where he got his first professional experience behind a camera running surveillances. He attended the UMKC School of Law and is currently admitted to the Missouri Bar.
Gary Jenkins’ career as a documentary filmmaker began with the desire to preserve his family’s history through the eyes of his mother, Mary Ellen Jenkins. He enjoyed the process so much he began to volunteer his time creating lifetime legacy videos for patients of NorthCare Hospice in Kansas City.
As his expertise grew, he began producing videos for organizations including the Kansas City Free Health Clinic (which aired on KCPT’s Screentime) and the Salvation Army. His film, Negroes To Hire: Slave Life and Culture on Antebellum Missouri Farms is being used as part of the social studies curriculum in several public school districts and for diversity training.
Gary’s current film, Freedom Seekers, documents stories from the underground railroad along the Kansas-Missouri border. This film is being screened in a series of programs. Gary authored a companion book titled John Brown and The Last Train.
Concurrently, Gary is working on Gangland Wire. This film documents the rise and fall of Kansas City’s River Quay district, the investigation of which exposed Mafia influence over the Teamsters International Union and Las Vegas casinos. During his tenure with the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department, Gary was assigned to this investigation from 1978-1980.