This time “What’s Your KCQ?,” a community partnership between the Kansas City Public Library and The Star, heads for one of the city’s best known “unknown” places.
Thanks to the 2018 film "Green Book," many know of "The Negro Motorist Green Book," published annually for 30 years beginning in 1936. The guidebooks provided Black travelers a list of businesses, restaurants and lodgings that would welcome them while traveling. For those interested in learning more, the New York Public Library has made 23 editions of the "Green Book" digitally accessible here.
While there are no copies of the “Green Book” within Missouri Valley Special Collections, we believe we have something equally interesting. In the early 1940s, Kansas City’s Negro Chamber of Congress worked with Scott Directory Publishers to create the Kansas City Negro City Directory. The book provides a fascinating glimpse into Kansas City’s Black communities at a moment just prior to a period of tremendous change.
In the years following World War II, many American cities embraced Urban Renewal, and consequently, some of its disastrous effects. This period of postwar redevelopment brought about modern downtown buildings, accelerated freeway construction across the country and facilitated the expansion of suburban communities.