“I think of storytelling,” writes U.S. Representative Emmanuel Cleaver II in his introduction for the new website, “where traditions and history are preserved to reflect self-love, overcoming great obstacles, and appreciation of those who paved the way for us today.
The Kansas City-area pioneers honored in the ongoing collection were educators, politicians, scientists, musicians, artists, athletes, innovators, activists, and business leaders who shaped not only Kansas City, but the nation and the world.
“Without telling their stories,” Cleaver said, “we in turn erase ours. We risk critical misunderstandings about American history, as well as the context of black strength and perseverance.
The KC Black History Project, a joint initiative of the Kansas City Public Library, the Black Archives of Mid-America, and the Local Investment Commission (LINC), was launched in 2010 as a collection of biographies presented in form of posters, booklets and calendars. to distribute during Black History Month and throughout the year.
The project has added half a dozen biographies each year and has become a regular source of inspirational material for schools, libraries and communities, with deliveries even sent around the world.
In 2021, the project collected what had grown to more than 70 biographies into an award-winning book that included original poetry by Glenn North and essays by Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, executive director of the Black Archives of Mid -America, Carmaletta Williams, of Negro Leagues Baseball. Museum President Bob Kendrick and community activist Justice Horn.
All of that — plus a new essay by former Mayor Pro Tem Alvin Brooks — is collected on the website, along with much more, said Jeremy Drouin, Missouri Valley Special Collections Manager at the Kansas Public Library. City.
It will be a living and growing website, which will add essays and school lesson plans, as well as links to oral histories, curricula and other research collections in the library records and somewhere else.
“I view kcblackhistory.org as an important resource for exploring, learning and celebrating black history in our community,” he said. The site will stimulate “further discussion and study of Kansas City’s Black history” as a thriving resource. “beyond Black History Month.”
By Joe Robertson/CLICK Writer