In celebration of Black History Month 2022, the Library is excited to launch the Kansas City Black History website, a continuation of a 12-year partnership with the Local Investment Commission (LINC) and the Black Archives of Mid-America to spotlight the contributions of Black Kansas Citians.
Featuring online biographies, essays, educational resources, and additional content, this new site highlights the legacies and accomplishments of notable African Americans who blazed trails, broke barriers, and shaped our city’s history.
Former Kansas City mayor and current Missouri Representative Emanuel Cleaver gets to the heart of the project, writing: “I’m proud to share the excellence of those who came before me, and for one day, to have future change makers use those stories as future inspiration to continue our march toward a more perfect union.”
Current and future generations can draw inspiration from the more than 80 individuals highlighted on kcblackhistory.org. Newly published biographies include a legislator who dedicated his life to public service and civil rights, a KC jazz legend, the founders of the Midwest’s preeminent Black newspaper, and Black entrepreneurs who overcame discrimination and racism to flourish in public relations, automobile sales, and the hospitality industry. The website also features a Black history program archive with dozens of interviews, lectures, and panel discussions focusing on African American life and culture, civil rights and activism, politics and community leadership, and other topics.
This new online resource allows Kansas Citians to explore, learn, and celebrate Black History in our community.
For 2021, the Library, LINC, and the Black Archives produced a special Black History Month booklet celebrating the legacies and accomplishments of notable African Americans who blazed trails, broke barriers, led and left a mark on Kansas City history. Kansas City Black History: The African American Story of History and Culture in Our Community (PDF download), compiles the stories of more than 70 influential figures — with new essays from several local contemporary voices. A digital version of the piece is available for download on the Kansas City Black History website. Limited print copies are available by request through LINC.