Skip to main content
Credit Card Payment

African American Heritage Project

A special project of observing and documenting the African American experience in western Missouri and eastern Kansas.

The African American Heritage directory is listed in alphabetical order by city name.

  Bonner Springs, KS 

Museums/Museum Collections

Wyandotte County Historical Museum
631 N. 126th St.,  Bonner Springs, KS 66012     913-721-1078
Features rotating exhibits that often highlight African American heritage. Every February the museum presents the Black Heritage Quilt Show.  (Description courtesy Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association)

  Independence, MO         

Historic Districts/Parks/Tours

Emily Fisher Gravesite
Noland Rd. & Pacific St.,  Independence, MO  Independence Tourism: 816-325-7111
Fisher is buried in Independence's Woodlawn Cemetery (Noland Rd. & Pacific). She was a freed slave who, over 100 years ago, operated a successful Independence hotel and was later credited with inventing a healing salve. The hotel was a stopping point for travelers heading West along the trails. Information about her life is featured at the National Frontier Trails Center in Independence, as well as the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.   (Description courtesy Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association)

   Kansas City, MO     

 Archives and Libraries

Dr. Gertrude H. Keith Resource Library 
Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage Center 
(see Cultural Centers)

John Ramos Collection [Website
Kansas City Public Library - Central, 14 W Tenth St.  Kansas City, MO 64105     816-701-3500
The collection includes important books, pamphlets, newspaper and magazine articles, and vertical file materials that relate to African American history and culture with a special emphasis on the Kansas City area. First edition books by such authors and poets as Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen and other artists from the Harlem Renaissance, as well as books on spirituals, jazz and blues music are part of the collection.   (Image of John F. Ramos and description are courtesy of The Kansas City Public Library.)

Mutual Musicians Foundation   
1823 Highland (18th & Vine Historic District),  Kansas City, MO 64108     816-471-5212 h
For decades the foundation has been the after-hours meeting place for jazz musicians. It began as the Black Musicians Union Local 627 in 1904, was later renamed the Mutual Musicians Foundation and moved into its present location in 1930. This center for the development of jazz as an American art form was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1982. Late night jam sessions are held Friday and Saturday nights, beginning after midnight and lasting 'til the sun comes up.  (Description courtesy Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association)

York Center 
Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage Center 
(see Cultural Centers)

Black Archives of Mid-America     [Website]
1722 E. 17 Terrace,  Kansas City, MO 64108     816-221-1600

The Black Archives of Mid-America is a non-profit organization that serves the community by offering itself as an educational resource as well as a repository of every facet of African-American culture in the region. Founded in 1974 by Horace M. Peterson, the collection includes a vast sampling of the local African-American community's history.

Midwest Afro-American Genealogical Interest Coalition (MAGIC)    
PO Address 300972,  Kansas City, MO 64130

The Call Weekly Newspaper     [Website]
1715 E. 18th St. Kansas City, MO 64106    816-842-3804

Lucille Bluford Library
3050 Prospect  Kansas City, MO  816-701-3595
Named in honor of the Editor and Publisher of The Kansas City Call, a newspaper dedicated to the African American community. The library is a tribute to this nationally recognized civil rights pioneer.  (Description courtesy Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association)

W.E.B. DuBois Learning Center     [Website]
5501 Cleveland Avenue,  Kansas City, MO 64130     816-523-3339

Community Organizations

Black Economic Union of Greater Kansas City     [Website]
1601 E. 18th St.,  Kansas City, MO 64108     816-474-5805

Freedom, Inc.     [Website]
1202 E. Brooklyn Ave.,  Kansas City, MO 64127     816-483-8683

Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey     [Website]
1714 E. 18th St.,  Kansas City, MO 64108     816-471-6003

NAACP Kansas City, Missouri Branch     [Website]
1601 E. 18th St., Ste. 212,  Kansas City, MO 64108     816-421-1191

Urban League of Greater Kansas City     [Website]
1710 Paseo Blvd.,  Kansas City, MO 64108     816-471-0550

Cultural Centers

African American History and Culture House      [Website]
University of Missouri-Kansas City, 5425 Rockhill Road  Kansas City, MO 64110  816-235-5641
AAMCH offers a multitude of resources such as meeting space, educational resource assistance, programming and a computer facility for UMKC and the surrounding community.  (Description courtesy Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association)

Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage Center   [Website]
3700 Blue Parkway,  Kansas City, MO 64130     816-784-4444
This museum stands in tribute to the legacy of Kansas City's early African American pioneers and embodies the artistic, cultural and social history of the African American experience. The center is named in honor of Bruce R. Watkins, a political and social activist. The facility is part of a cultural mall complex, which includes the Spirit of Freedom Fountain, Satchel Paige Memorial Stadium and a hillside garden. The center includes a permanent exhibit space, a children's workspace, a library, an auditorium and two art galleries. Admission is free.  (Description courtesy Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association)

Historic Districts/Parks/Tours

12th Street Heritage District     [Website]
2000 East 12th St.,  Kansas City, MO 64127

18th and Vine Historic Jazz District
18th & Vine,  Kansas City, MO

Bernard Powell Memorial Monument 
Spring Valley Park, 28th and Brooklyn,  Kansas City, MO
A tribute to a slain African American civil rights advocate.   (Description courtesy Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association)

Charlie Parker Gravesite 
Lincoln Cemetery
8604 E Truman Rd.,  Kansas City, MO
This world renowned saxophonist is buried in Lincoln Cemetery, 8604 East Truman Road in the Blue Summit area of Jackson County. Parker died in New York in 1955 and is credited with developing the bop style of jazz. Many of his works became jazz standards.  (Description courtesy Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association)

Charlie Parker Memorial     [Website]
17th Terrace & Paseo,  Kansas City, MO  816-474-8463
In March 1999, Kansas City unveiled a striking tribute to one of its most famous jazz performers, Charlie Parker. Born in Kansas City, Kansas in 1920, the "Bird" nurtured his talents against a backdrop of swinging Kansas City jazz. He became one of the most innovative and influential jazz musicians ever. Although he died at the early age of 35, Parker continues to impress and inspire today's jazz musicians and fans. The 17-foot bronze memorial was sculpted by internationally recognized artist Robert Graham. 18th and Vine Historic Jazz District.    (Description courtesy Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association)

Freedom Mall on the Freedom Trail   [Website]
1000 Block of W 8th Street, Kansas City, MO 64101
The only monument in the state of Missouri celebrating African Americans who escaped slavery, the Freedom Mall commemorates the years immediately preceding and during the Civil War when many slaves passed this point as they sought freedom in the new “Free State” of Kansas.*       *Excerpted from the Kansas City Parks and Recreation website.

Leon M. Jordan Memorial Park
31st & Benton,  Kansas City, MO
Dedicated to a slain Kansas City civil  rights leader and one of the founders of Freedom, Inc.  (Description courtesy Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association)

Penn School Memorial Park
NW Corner of Westport Rd. and 43rd St.
Penn School was the first school built west of the Mississippi for the express purpose of educating black children. The school was established in 1868 and dosed in 1955. The building was destroyed by fire in 1969, but today the site is commemorated with the Penn School Memorial Park.  (Description courtesy Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association)

Spirit of Freedom Fountain 
Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage Center
  (see Cultural Centers) 816-784-4444
One of the last projects started by late civic leader Bruce R. Watkins, this fountain was dedicated in 1981, exactly one year after his death. At the groundbreaking ceremony, Watkins said the wading pool/fountain was "dedicated to the men and women who came here a century ago, as slaves, who felled the trees, built the roads, launched their dreams." The fountain's sculptural centerpiece is an abstract flame representing freedom, incorporating the improvisational style of Kansas City jazz. It was designed by Richard Hunt, a nationally-recognized black sculptor.  Southwest corner of Cleveland and Emanual Cleaver Boulevard(Description courtesy Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association)

Lincoln Building
1601 E. 18th St.,  Kansas City, MO
Black Economic Union: 816-474-1080
Built in 1921, this office building was remodeled in 1981 when it was purchased by the Black Economic Union. This local landmark houses a number of African American businesses, community and business organizations.    (Description courtesy Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association)

Satchel Paige Memorial Stadium
51st and Swope Parkway, Kansas City, MO  816-513-7500
Named for one of baseball's greatest pitchers, Paige played in the historic Negro National League for the Kansas City Monarchs.  In 1948 he broke into major league baseball with the Cleveland Indians.  The stadium is used for amateur play and special events.  (Description courtesy Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association)

Museums/Museum Collections

American Jazz Museum     [Website]
1616 E. 18th St.,  Kansas City, MO 64108  816-474-8463
Center stage at the Museums at 18th & Vine is the American Jazz Museum where music fills the air as the story of jazz and some of its greatest performers is told.  Legendary artifacts, including a Charlie Parker saxophone, are part of the permanent exhibit.  Exhibits celebrate such jazz greats as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and Charlie Parker. The museum's Blue Room is a jazz club with a historic feel where visitors enjoy live Kansas City jazz four nights a week.  (Description courtesy Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association)

Gem Theater
1616 E. 18th St.,  Kansas City, MO 64108  Ticket Office: 816-474-6262
The historic theater was originally opened as a movie house in 1912 and quickly became the center of social and cultural activity for the 18th & Vine community. The reconstructed Gem Theater is a 500-seat performance venue for local, national and international artists.  (Description courtesy Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association) 

The Blue Room     [Website]
American Jazz Museum, 1616 E. 18th St.,  Kansas City, MO 64108

Negro Leagues Baseball Museum     [Website]
1616 E. 18th St.,  Kansas City, MO 64108  816-221-1920
The museum offers a glimpse into the history of African American baseball prior to 1947, when the color barrier in professional baseball was broken with the signing of Kansas City Monarchs shortstop Jackie Robinson to the Brooklyn Dodgers. The museum is housed a few blocks from the YMCA building where the Negro National League was founded by Andrew "Rube" Foster in 1920. The museum displays photographs, uniforms and memorabilia from this fascinating chapter in American history.   (Description courtesy Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association)

Managed from the University of Missouri at Kansas City, this website documents the struggle of African Americans within the military structure and their work for equality in the society they were sworn to serve.  Curated by Pellom McDaniels III, Ph.D.,
Assistant Professor, Department of History/American Studies Program, The University of Missouri - Kansas City and Jumoke Balogun, Undergraduate Student, Department of History, The University of Missouri-Kansas City.

  Kansas City, KS   See Quindaro, KS also. 

Archives and Libraries

Robert Roe Collection 
Donnelly College, 608 N 18th St.,  Kansas City, KS   913-621-8735
Donnelly College in Kansas City, Kansas houses this historically valuable assortment of African American artifacts, including books, Lincoln life-mask, artwork, relics, photographs, clothing and other artifacts.  (Description courtesy Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association)

NAACP Kansas City, Kansas Branch
21 N. 12th St., #320,   Kansas City, KS 66102     913-281-7900

   Leavenworth, KS     

Cultural Center

Richard Allen Cultural Center     [Website]
412 Kiowa St.,  Leavenworth, KS 66048     913-682-8772

Historic Districts/Parks/Tours

Buffalo Soldiers Monument     [Website]
Fort Leavenworth, KS  913-682-4113
On July 25, 1992 the 9th and 10th Cavalry regiments, comprised of African American soldiers, were honored with the dedication by General Colin Powell of a magnificant bronze statue of a Buffalo Soldier in Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas.  The Buffalo Soldiers, formed in 1866 and named as such by Cheyenne warriors, were instrumental in the opening of the west.  Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas is located about 15 minutes from KCI Airport.  (Description courtesy Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association)

  Liberty, MO    

Community Organizations

Clay County African American Legacy, Inc.    [Website]
502 N. Water, Liberty, MO 64068
The Clay County African American Legacy Inc. (CCAAL Inc.) was founded in 2000 during the Kansas City 150th annual "Celebration of the Heart.” The primary focus of the organization is improving the quality of life for its citizens by educating adults, and especially youth, of the cultural diversity that exists in the Northland.

Historic Districts/Parks/Tours

African-American Mural    [Website]
City of Liberty, 3rd Floor Courthouse  Liberty, MO
Hanging in the courthouse in Clay County.  This mural depicts selected early 19th and 20th Century African American pioneers, businesses, churches and schools, including White Oak Chapel and Cemetery from the Fountain Waller Plantation (1836); Dr. D. A. Ellett's Sulpho Saline Bath House and Swimming Pool (1880); First Baptist Church (1843); and the first African American School in Missouri City (1877). 

First Baptist/Mt. Zion Church 
City of Liberty, 336 N Gallatin  Liberty, MO

Freedom Fountain 
Courthouse Square, Liberty, MO

The Freedom Fountain (NE corner of the old Courthouse lawn) – erected in 2000 by the Clay County African-American Legacy Inc. in honor of African-Americans who have made contributions to the growth and development of Clay County.

Garrison School [Website]
502 N. Water Street, Liberty, MO 
African American residents established Garrison School in 1877. The first principal was Professor J. W. Mozee followed by John L. Talton, Virgil Williams, James A. Gay and C. E. Gantt.

African American Tour    
Historic Downtown Liberty,  Liberty, MO

James A. Gay Home 
City of Liberty, 415 N. Gallatin Street  Liberty, MO

St. Luke AME Church 
City of Liberty, 443 N Main  Liberty, MO

The Lucy Colley Home 
City of Liberty, 403 N Prairie Street  Liberty, MO

  Merriam, KS 

Historic Districts/Parks/Tours

Esther E. Brown Memorial Park
50th Terrace & England St.,  Merriam, KS  913-722-3330
Brown organized citizen support  in the South Park community for litigation leading to the 1949 Kansas Supreme Court order admitting African American children to the South Park School and nearby high schools. The park is located at 50th Terrace & England in Merriam, Kansas.   (Description courtesy Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association)

  Richmond, MO 

Museums/Museum Collections

The Ray County Museum  [Website]
Intersection of Royle and Ruby,  Richmond, MO
Permanent exhibit highlighting the African-American experience in Ray County.

  St. Joseph, MO 

Museums/Museum Collections

Black Archives  at the St. Joseph Museums, Inc.  [Website]
3406 Frederick Avenue, St. Joseph, MO 64508     800-530-8866
The Black Archives Museum features exhibits on such topics as the Underground Railroad, the Middle Passage, Desegregation, Education, Sports, and other aspects of African-American history in St. Joseph. The Black Archives also features a Hall of Fame, created to showcase the achievements and contributions of St. Joseph’s African-American citizens.  

  Quindaro, KS   

Historic Districts/Parks/Tours

John Brown Statue
27th and Sewell Ave., Kansas City, KS  913-321-5800.
Near the heart of Kansas City, Kansas is a statue that pays tribute to John Brown, one of the nation's early-day opponents of slavery.  (Description courtesy Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association)

Quindaro Ruins     [Website]
This archaeological free port of entry off the Missouri River provides a window into the past. The site in Kansas City, Kansas is currently closed for land stabilization and preservation efforts. First African Methodist Episcopal Church: 913-371-2805. Kansas City, Kansas Convention and Visitors Bureau: 913-321-5800. Until the site opens, visit this website to learn more about its history and progress:  (Description courtesy Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association)

Museums/Museum Collections

Quindaro Museum and Cultural Center
27th & Sewell Ave.,  Kansas City, KS

Cultural Center

Vernon Multi-Purpose Center
3436 North 27th Street,  Kansas City, KS 66104     913-321-1220