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Author Steve Penn, is a former award-winning columnist for the Kansas City Star, where he worked for 31 years. Penn first started speaking to O’Neal back in 1987 when he was a reporter. Since then Penn has written extensively on O’Neal’s journey from a fiery militant leader of the Kansas City Chapter of the Black Panthers, through his transition in life to a responsible village elder and owner of a thriving children’s home.

Penn graduated from Sumner High School in Kansas City, Kan. in 1976. He earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan.

Penn and a local activist helped to solve the "Precious Doe" murder case in 2005. He is the co-founder of the Coda Jazz Fund, a fund that helps to pay the funeral and burial expenses of needy Kansas City jazz musicians.

He can be reached via email at spennkc40@aol.com.