Access Seven Decades of Kansas City’s African American History Through Archives of The Call

Thursday, October 19, 2023
Top portion of the July 27, 1928, edition of The Kansas City Call.

An important chronicle of African American history in Kansas City – and beyond – is now available through the Library.

Digital archives of The Call are accessible through the Library’s website, offering more than 70 years of content from one of the most eminent Black newspapers in the country. Editions from 1936 to 2008 are currently featured. 

That date span eventually will expand, stretching back to The Call’s founding in 1919 and running through 2010.

“It’s something we have wanted for a very long time,” says Diana Platt, the Library’s virtual resources librarian. “This is a very important part of our history that, before now, has been kind of hard to access. There really hasn’t been a modern way to get to it. Looking through it, there is such interesting historical information that was vital to a huge part of Kansas City for decades and decades and decades.”

The Call was one of 22 newspapers published by Kansas City’s African American community when it launched in May 1919 – and the only one that remained in print the next 25 years. It did more than survive. It became one of the largest and most important Black newspapers in the nation and continues today to represent and advocate on behalf of the interests of Black Kansas Citians.

Among its most notable staff members was Lucile H. Bluford, who moved from reporter to city editor to managing editor and finally editor, owner, and publisher over a 69-year career. She made the weekly newspaper a prominent voice for African-Americans in the city and a force in the fight against discrimination.

The Library named its branch at 3050 Prospect Ave. for Lucile Bluford in 1988. In 2002, a year before she died at age 91, the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce named her Kansas Citian of the Year.

For further background on The Call, go to