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KANSAS CITY

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Demographics of New York

                               White          Black       Native American      Asian          Hispanic

Total Population 55.70%         30.12%             0.75%               1.72%           16.78%

FACTS ABOUT KANSAS CITY

1.Kansas City is the third-largest city in the U.S. state of Kansas and is the county seat of Wyandotte County. According to the U.S. Census Bureau the population was 146,867.

2.Kansas City is situated in "Tornado Alley", a broad region where cold air from the Rocky Mountains and Canada collides with warm air from the Gulf of Mexico, leading to the formation of powerful storms.

3.Kansas City was ranked the #7 best city in the U.S. to start over after foreclosure. Average rent in Kansas City is only $788, which is low in relation to the national average of $1087 spent on rent.

4.Newspapers, The Kansas City Call (Weekly African-American newspaper). 

Radio Stations

KLJC 88.5 FM Kansas City, MO Christian Contemporary 
KKFI 90.1 FM Kansas City, MO Variety 
KMXV 93.3 FM Kansas City, MO Top-40 
KCHZ 95.7 FM Ottawa, KS Top-40 
KPRS 103.3 FM Kansas City, MO Hip Hop 
KMJK 107.3 FM North Kansas City, MO Urban Contemporary
KCSP 610 AM Kansas City, MO Sports 
KGGN 890 AM Gladstone, MO Gospel Music 
KPRT 1590 AM Kansas City, MO Gospel Music 

 

A Touch of History

Kansas City 

Kansas City has been a key city in the Midwest for African Americans even before the city was incorporated in 1850. Many people escaped slavery in the South to work as field and ranch hands here.

CHURCHES

  1. Allen Chapel AME Church -  3421 North 29th Street, Kansas City, KS 66104-3969 (913) 371-7489 
     

  2. Amazing Grace Church of God in Christ -  Category: Black Churches -   2106 Quindaro Blvd. Kansas City, KS 66102 (913) 342-5921
     

  3. Bethel Church of God in Christ -  Category: Black Churches -   2063 N 4th St. Kansas City, KS 66101 (913) 321-7883
     

  4. Boone Tabernacle Church of God in Christ -  Category: Black Churches -   1317 E 12th St. Kansas City, KS 64106 (816) 471-0955 - (visit website) 
     

  5. Ebenezer Church of God In Christ -  Category: Black Churches -   1101 N. 7th St. Kansas City, KS 66101 (913) 621-5685
     

  6. Emmanuel Temple COGIC -  Category: Black Churches -   1136 Ann Kansas City, KS 66102 (913) 621-5827
     

  7. Faith Deliverance Family Worship Center -  Category: Black Churches -   3043 State Ave. Kansas City, KS 66102 (913) 321-5220
     

  8. First Ame Church -  1111 North 8th Street, Kansas City, KS 66101-2196 (913) 371-2805 
     

  9. Grace Tabernacle COGIC -  Category: Black Churches -   4835 State Avenue Kansas City, KS 66102
     

  10. Havenside Church of God In Christ -  Category: Black Churches -   308 Franklin Ave. Kansas City, KS 66101 (913) 321-2537 
     

  11. Henson Memorial COGIC -  Category: Black Churches -   901 Greeley Ave. Kansas City, KS 66101 (913) 321-0597 
     

  12. Lakeside Church of God In Christ -  Category: Black Churches -   2600 N. 91st St. Kansas City, KS 66109 (913) 334-1588 
     

  13. Love Chapel Church of God In Christ -  Category: Black Churches -   1723 Quindaro Blvd. Kansas City, KS 66104 (913) 621-5683 
     

  14. Madden Temple Church of God in Christ -  Category: Black Churches -   2300 Ruby Ave/P.O. Box 12346 Kansas City, KS 66112 (913) 831-3641 
     

  15. New Bethel AME Church -  1820 North 55th Street, Kansas City, KS 66102-1435 (913) 596-2111 
     

  16. New Harvest Church of God In Christ -  Category: Black Churches -   2120 Minnesota Ave. Kansas City, KS 66102 (913) 279-1003 
     

  17. Power Realm Church of God In Christ -  Category: Black Churches -   1319 N. 51st St. Kansas City, KS 66102 (913) 596-9721 
     

  18. Quindaro Church of God In Christ -  Category: Black Churches -   2932 Hutchings St. Kansas City, KS 66101 (913) 371-7921 
     

  19. Sanctified Church of God In Christ -  Category: Black Churches -   1061 Armstrong Kansas City, KS 66102 
     

  20. Showers of Blessings COGIC -  Category: Black Churches -   2201 Quindaro Blvd. Kansas City, KS 66104 (913) 281-2346
     

  21. St. John Church of God In Christ -  Category: Black Churches -   2408 N. Tremont Kansas City, KS 66101 
     

  22. St Luke Ame Church -  800 North 12th Street, Kansas City, KS 66102-4433 (913) 321-5422 
     

  23. St Paul Ame Church -  3074 North 33rd Street, Kansas City, KS 66104-4038 (913) 342-4662 
     

  24. Trinity AME Church -  2201 North 5th Street, Kansas City, KS 66101-1409 (913) 621-2306 
     

  25. Young Memorial Church of God In Christ -  Category: Black Churches -   2401 N. 9th St. Kansas City, KS 66101 (913) 371-4090

ENTERTAINMENT

1.Blue RoomFeatures live jazz that ranges from locals to nationals; the atmosphere is very polished and the crowd is often sophisticated; call for calendar of events; entertainment always begins at 8p; call for calendar; located at the American Jazz Museum.
CUISINE: Light fare
COVER CHARGE: Yes
CREDIT CARDS: Yes
DAYS & HOURS: Mon & Thu 5p-11p, Fri 5p-1a, Sat 7p-1a
ADDRESS: 1600 East 18th Street  MAP
PARKING: Lot across the street
PHONE: 816-474-2929
WEBSITE: http://www.americanjazzmuseum.org

2.Kansas City Blues & Juke House-Located in the former Red Vine Restaurant space in the Historic 18th & Vine District; this upscale venue is reminiscent of the Vine in its heyday; “The Juke House,” as the locals call it, features live Blues on Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, in addition to Blues jam sessions Monday and Thursday nights. The dining menu encompasses delicious lunch and dinner entrees with items like fried whole or filets of catfish, fried shrimp, their legendary fried or buffalo hot wings, baby back pork.
CREDIT CARDS: Yes
DAYS & HOURS: Mon 11a-Midnight, Tue 11a-3p, Wed 11a-1a, Thu 11a-Midnight, Fri-4p, 11a-1a, Sun 11a-4p
ADDRESS: 1700 East 18th Street  MAP
PARKING: Lot across the street
PHONE: 816-472-0013
WEBSITE: http://kcjukehouse.com

3.Gates Barbeque-One of the world’s great barbecue restaurants, known for its spectacular barbecue sauce and tender slabs of slow, brick-oven cooked beef and chicken; every meal is an experience here; the Gates have built one of Kansas City’s greatest successful family businesses; this location has the most original flava’, but there are many other locations in Kansas City.
CUISINE: Barbecue
COVER CHARGE: No
CREDIT CARDS: Yes
DAYS & HOURS: Sun-Thu 10a-Midnight, Fri-Sat 10a-1a
ADDRESS: 1221 Brooklyn Street  MAP
PARKING: On premises
PHONE: 816-483-3880
WEBSITE: http://www.gatesbbq.com

4.Arthur Bryant’s Barbeque-IS considered one of the world’s great barbeque restaurants – there’s a debate between them an Gates as to who is better; this is the original location but there are more around Kansas City..
CUISINE: Barbecue
COVER CHARGE: No
CREDIT CARDS: Yes
DAYS & HOURS: Mon-Thu 10a-9:30p, Fri-Sat 10a-10p, Sun 11a-8p
ADDRESS: 1727 Brooklyn Street  MAP
PARKING: On premises and street
PHONE: 816-231-1123
WEBSITE: http://www.arthurbryantsbbq.com

5.Epicurean Restaurant & Lounge-A good lounge for 30+ socializing and dancing to R&B and Hip-Hop; Friday 9p-until, Saturday 9p-until; arrive early to partake of the delicious chicken wings.
CUISINE: American
COVER CHARGE: Yes at night
CREDIT CARDS: Yes
DAYS & HOURS: Thu, Fri 6p-until, Sat 8p-3a, Sun 5p-2a
ADDRESS: 7502 Troost Ave  MAP
PARKING: On premises
PHONE: 816-333-4541
WEBSITE: None

6.Peach Tree Buffet-The place to go for old-home, down-home cooking in an upscale restaurant where food is prepared with a different twist with lots of spices, seasonings, and secret ingredients; all items are served buffet style; Enjoy live entertainment with meal; other locations in the Power & Light District, 18th & Vine District and Lee's Summit.
CUISINE: Soul Food; specialties are collard greens, pork chops, fried chicken, yeast rolls, Mac ‘n Cheese, bread pudding with daily specials..
PRICING: Buffet is only $12
COVER CHARGE: No
CREDIT CARDS: Yes
DAYS & HOURS: Tue-Sun 11a-7p
ADDRESS: 6800 Eastwood Trafficway  MAP
PARKING: On premises and street
PHONE: 816-923-0099
WEBSITE: http://www.peachtreerestaurants.com

7.The Levee-One of KC's favorite jazz nightclubs for fifty years; situated between Country Club Plaza and Westport Square; local jazz musicians Wed-Sat night downstairs, plus a sports bar upstairs with HDTV's
CUISINE: Light fare
COVER CHARGE: Yes
CREDIT CARDS: Yes
DAYS & HOURS: Nightly
ADDRESS: 16 West 43rd Street  MAP
PARKING: On street
PHONE: 816-561-5565
WEBSITE: http://www.thelevee.net

8.Club Rain-private night club & lounge; home of the “Rain Drop” drink and “Fashion Fridays,” Club Rain is an urban dance venue and lounge offering an intimate & elegant experience and exclusive VIP area with private dining; fashionably chic age 25+ patrons enjoy music from live DJ's and bands and beginning at 8p Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, 5p on Fridays for Happy Hour
CUISINE: Light fare
COVER CHARGE: Yes
CREDIT CARDS: Yes
DAYS & HOURS: Wed-Thu, Sat 8p-until, Fri 5p-until
ADDRESS: 8015 Troost Ave MAP

PARKING: on premises
PHONE: 816-361-2900
WEBSITE: http://www.clubrainkc.com

9.G's Jamaican Cuisine-Referred by some as "The Island away from the Island"; also offers live Reggae music on Friday and Saturday nights CUISINE: Jamaican; specialties such as jerk chicken, fried fish and a bevy of sides.
COVER CHARGE: Yes
CREDIT CARDS: Yes
DAYS & HOURS: Mon-Thu 11a-10p, Fri-Sat 11a-11p
ADDRESS: 7940 Troost Ave  MAP

PARKING: On premises
PHONE: 816-333-9566
WEBSITE: None

KANSAS CITY CULTURAL SITES

Negro Leagues Baseball Museum

The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum was founded in 1990 in Kansas City, Missouri. It is a privately funded museum dedicated to preserving the history of Negro league baseball in America.

 

Address: 1616 E 18th St, Kansas City, MO 64108

Phone: (816) 221-1920

Monday              Closed

Tuesday              9AM–6PM

Wednesday        9AM–6PM

Thursday            9AM–6PM

Friday                  9AM–6PM

Saturday             9AM–6PM

Sunday              12PM-6PM

 

The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum was founded in 1990 by a group of former Negro league baseball players, including Kansas City Monarchs outfielder, Alfred Surratt, Buck O'Neil, and Horace Peterson. It moved from a small, single-room office inside the Lincoln Building at historic 18th & Vine streets in Kansas City to a 2,000-square-foot (190 m2) space in 1994.

Three years later, in 1997, the museum relocated again, to a 10,000-square-foot (930 m2), purpose-built structure five times the previous size. The museum resides in the 18th and Vine District of Kansas City, the hub of African-American cultural activity in Kansas City during the first half of the 20th century. Within the same building is the American Jazz Museum, celebrating Kansas City's likewise vibrant jazz scene during that same time period.

On March 20, 2013 a special screening of the movie 42 was held in Kansas City on April 11, 2013, a day before its nationwide release, as a benefit for the Negro Leagues museum. Actor Harrison Ford, one of the stars of the film, participated in the fundraiser. 42 is a biographical film about the life of baseball player Jackie Robinson, who played for the Kansas City Monarchs prior to breaking baseball's color barrier.

A Touch of History Continued

For many generations, the Osage, Kansa and Wyandotte Indians ruled the land.  That all changed when Missouri achieved statehood in 1820.  By 1833, Westport was founded to sell goods to Indians and traders.  In 1840 pioneers heading west passed through Westport via the Santa Fe Trail.  By then railroads and livestock established Kansas City as a booming business community.  In 1850, the town of Kansas was founded.

Kansas City has been a key city in the Midwest for African Americans even before the city was incorporated in 1850.  Many people escaped slavery in the South to work as field and ranch hands here.  The Black community grew in the North End of town.  When their numbers were small, there were fewer affronts to their rights.  By 1880 reports indicate that the city had 8100 African Americans.  A number restrictive Black Codes were soon made into law and enforced.  Since African Americans could not go to White-owned hotels, theaters, and nightclubs, by the 1920s a vibrant Jazz scene developed in the 18th & Vine District.  Word got around about the good times being had.  That enticed many European Americans come by for some of that “jazz” entertainment and that stuff they call barbecue.  The US Census also reports that Kansas City's African American population increased from 17,000 to 41,000 between 1900 and 1940, with most of that growth occurring after World War I.

Aside from its Musical Traditions and Dining Traditions, Kansas City was home of the National Negro Baseball League organized by Andrew “Rube” Foster, and the home of the world famous Kansas City Monarchs.  The Monarchs were an early playing home to Jackie Robinson, Buck Leonard, Buck O’Neil, Bullet Joe Rogan, Ernie Banks, and Satchel Paige.  They drew sold out interracial crowds even while segregation was the social order of the day.  It is important to note that organized Negro Leagues Baseball was for many years a centerpiece of economic development in Black communities around America.  

A strong testament to the quality of play is that Negro League teams won between 65-70% of exhibition games played against white Major Leagues teams, Other than the South, baseball owners had no reason to fear that integration would reduce the gate draw.  Exhibition games in Kansas City and other places were often played before sell-old crowds. The Satchel Paige-led Monarchs won their share of exhibitions against the Babe Ruth-led Yankees.  In an odd twist, the proficiency of Negro Leagues baseball stars scared enough sub-par European American baseball players that they privately lobbied against integration.  One can also make a convincing argument that a lot more Negro Leagues stars belong in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Despite fairly positive racial interaction in entertainment venues, resistance to blacks working mainstream jobs in Kansas City could be seen at a large 1942 rally where 13,000 blacks held a job protest.  Like the rest of America, it would take the contributions of Black veterans in World War II, the integration of Major League Baseball, Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court decision in 1954, and the modern Civil Rights Movement to end Jim Crow.  Unfortunately, Negro Leagues Baseball was a sacrificial lamb to end Jim Crow.  Every Negro Leagues star or rising star integrated Major League Baseball by the mid-1950s.  Negro League teams, drained of their talent, stopped drawing fans and languished.  During this time Kansas City also opened the first black-owned bank west of the Mississippi River in 1947. Douglass Bank.  Kansas City is home to KPRS/KPRT, one of the nation's oldest continuously Black-owned radio stations, founded in 1950.  KPRS is 103.3 FM and KPRT is the Gospel Source at 1590 AM.
 

While segregation in baseball ended, most civil rights oppression continued which led to the rise of local Black Panthers chapter in the 1960s.  When Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, city authorities refused to close the schools for a day, triggering a riot that lasted for 6 days.  After the riot, when cooler heads prevailed, African Americans organized to promote a political agenda.  Alan Wheat became the first African American elected as a U.S. Congressman from Kansas City.

 Today, Kansas City is 30 percent black and has a black mayor, Emanuel Cleaver. While a exceptionally large number of freeways, malls and redlining triggered While Flight and blue collar job exit from the city, their negative consequences seem to be milder many other cities.  But one area hit particularly hard by such flight was the historic 18th & Vine Streets Jazz district.  Fortunately and with a lot of public/private cooperation, things are on the way up again.

Mutual Musicians Foundation

American Jazz Museum

The American Jazz Museum is a jazz museum in the United States. Located in the historic 18th and Vine district in Kansas City, Missouri, in a building also housing the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.

 

Address: 1616 E 18th St, Kansas City, MO 64108

Phone: (816) 221-1920

Monday              Closed

Tuesday              9AM–6PM

Wednesday        9AM–6PM

Thursday            9AM–6PM

Friday                  9AM–6PM

Saturday             9AM–6PM

Sunday              12PM-6PM

 

The American Jazz Museum is a jazz museum in the United States. Located in the historic 18th and Vine district in Kansas CityMissouri, in a building also housing the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, it preserves the history of the American music: jazz. The museum features exhibits on Charlie ParkerDuke EllingtonLouis Armstrong and others. Items on display include a saxophone owned by Charlie Parker and various Down Beat awards. The Blue Room is a fully functioning jazz club on site, and the Gem Theatre across the street is a larger venue hosting jazz music. 

Gem Theater
Built in 1912, this theater was fully restored to its former greatness — this point is significant because only a handful of Historically Black Theaters nationwide have been restored rather than destroyed; today, it serves as popular entertainment venue for small concerts in the 18th & Vine District..

DAYS & HOURS:Eevent dependent

ADDRESS: 1615 East 18th Street  MAP

PHONE: 816-474-VINE

WEBSITE: http://www.americanjazzmuseum.org

 

Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey
 In 1984, Kansas City civic and cultural leaders were inspired by choreographer and dancer, Alvin Ailey, and his extraordinary vision: a diverse community united by dance to inspire and change lives; together with Mr. Ailey, a multicultural coalition founded Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey (KCFAA) and established Kansas City as the second home of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, after New York City; KCFAA also offers arts education programs and AileyCamp, an award-winning program for young people; call for calendar of events and venues

DAYS & HOURS: Mon-Fri 9a-5p

ADDRESS: 1714 East 18th Street  MAP

PHONE: 816-471-6003

WEBSITE: http://www.kcfaa.org


“Bird” Memorial to Charlie Parker
 In 1999, this 17-foot tall bronze bust was christened in honor of the most famous and beloved jazz player in Kansas City; Charlie Parker's orginal nickname, "Yardbird", was eventually shortened to "Bird"; sculpted by Robert Graham, the memorial is located on a plot of land where Bird traversed as he made his rounds from various dwellings in the area to the nearby nightclubs in the 18th and Vine district

ADDRESS: East 17th Street at The Paseo  MAP

Mutual Musicians Foundation
For decades the foundation has been the after-hours meeting place for Kansas City Jazz musicians; what began as the Black Musicians Union Local 627 in 1904, and was later renamed the Mutual Musicians Foundation, purchased 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

DAYS & HOURS: Mon-Sat 2a-6p; jam sessions Friday & Saturday nights 1a-5a

ADDRESS: 1823 Highland  MAP

PHONE: 816-471-5212

WEBSITE: http://www.thefoundationjamson.org

Black Archives of Mid-America
This archives and African American museum located in the historic 18th and Vine District is a not-for-profit organization contains of one of the nation’s largest collections of Black art, paintings, sculptures, and research on the Kansas City area and famous local Black leaders; it chronicles the African American experience in the four-state area of Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Oklahoma; Group tours available

DAYS & HOURS: Appt only, in the processing of moving

ADDRESS: 2033 Vine Street  MAP

PHONE: 816-483-1300

WEBSITE: http://www.blackarchives.org

Bruce R Watkins Cultural Heritage Center & Museum
This center was built to honor the contributions of African American residents of the Kansas City area by providing an arena for cultural events and is dedicated to the late city councilman, Bruce R. Watkins, and stands in tribute to the legacy of Kansas City’s early African American pioneers; It embodies the artistic, cultural and social history of the African American experience; Watkins was a political and social activist who was fueled by the need to recognize and preserve the varied contributions African American made to the development of Kansas city; 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 houses an exquisite collection of African American historical artifacts of the region, a children’s workspace, a library, an auditorium and two art galleries

ADMISSION: Free

DAYS & HOURS: Tue-Sat 10a-6p

ADDRESS: 3700 Blue Parkway  MAP

PHONE: 816-513-0700

WEBSITE: link

Spirit of Freedom Fountain
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 and incorporating the improvisational style of Kansas City Jazz; designed by Black sculptor Richard Hunt.

ADDRESS: Between Cleveland Ave, Benton Blvd and Emanuel Cleaver Blvd  MAP

Kansas City, KS

United Nation of Islam Community
An offshoot of the Nation Of Islam, the United Nation of Islam and is headed by minister Solomon, is known for sparking a wide variety of businesses in “Your Community”; UNI is very serious about building an ecosystem to control the money flow in the community; here you’ll find a variety store, supermarket, gas station, restaurant, colonic treatment center, a construction company, cleaners, and they can food products; Allah’s Temple Academy

SUNDAY WORSHIP: 2p

ADDRESS: Quindaro Street between 17th and 10th Streets  MAP

PHONE: 913-281-2848

WEBSITE: http://unitednationofislam.com

Fort Leavenworth, KS

Buffalo Soldiers Monument
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 magnificent bronze statue of a Buffalo Soldier in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; The Buffalo Soldiers, formed in 1866 as named by Cheyenne warriors, were instrumental in the opening of the West and were headquartered in Louisiana (9th Cavalry) and Kansas (10th Cavalry); The monument is surrounded by two pools of water and a nine foot waterfall

ADDRESS: Ft. Leavenworth, KS  MAP

KANSAS CITY ART & HISTORY MUSEUMS

Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
One of America’s best encyclopedic art museums, it'scomprehensive features include a growing collection of modern sculpture enhanced with works by contemporary African American artists such as Alison Saar, Betye Saar and Martin Puryear; considered one of the nation's leading private museums, the Nelson houses treasures from around the world; recently expanded with major new wings and a reflecting pool; this museum is so comprehensive in its holdings you can visit for 3 hours or 3 days, yet leave with an equal sense of delight

ADMISSION: Free

DAYS & HOURS: Wed 10a-4p, Thu-Fri 10a-9p, Sat 10a-5p, Sun Noon-5p

ADDRESS: 4525 Oak Street  MAP

PARKING: Free on premises

PHONE: 816-751-1278

WEBSITE: http://www.nelson-atkins.org

Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art
Opened 1994, a entrance features an articulated skylight atrium and is the signature of this 23,000 square feet venue; features selections from the permanent collection and while is smaller galleries feature rotating exhibitions; works of art are always on view in each wing; presents 10–12 special exhibitions; group and solo artist exhibitions feature established and emerging artists from the America and worldwide, including Alison Saar; lectures, film and video series, performances, and workshops are offered on a regular basis

ADMISSION: Free

DAYS & HOURS: Tue–Thu 10a–4p, Fri–Sat 10a–9p, Sun 11a–5p

ADDRESS: 4420 Warwick Blvd  MAP

PARKING: Free on premises

PHONE: 816-753-5784

WEBSITE: http://www.kemperart.org

Liberty Memorial & National World War I Museum
The Liberty Memorial was dedicated in 1926; its grounds include two large sphinx sculptures and the landmark 217-foot tower; in 2006 the $26 million National World War I Museum opened at the site as well; although it has a large collection of artifacts from the war, the new exhibits are quite engaging.

ADMISSION: Adults $12, Age 65+ and Students w/ID $10, Ages 6-17 $6

DAYS & HOURS: Tue-Sun 10a-5p

ADDRESS: 100 West 26th Street  MAP

PARKING: Free on premises

PHONE: 816-784-1918

WEBSITE: http://www.libertymemorialmuseum.org

Arabia Steamboat Museum
DESCRIPTION: Nicknamed the “King Tut's Tomb of the Missouri River”, it features more than 200 tons of recovered artifacts from the sunken 1856 steamboat Arabia; exhibits and touchable treasures tell the story of the boat's Missouri River demise and amazing rediscovery in 1988

ADMISSION: Adults $12.50, Age 60+, Ages 4-12 $5

DAYS & HOURS: Mon-Sat 10a-5:30p, Sun Noon-5p

ADDRESS: 400 Grand Blvd  MAP

PARKING: Free on premises

PHONE: 816-471-1856

WEBSITE: http://www.1856.com

Toy & Miniature Museum
A renovated 1911 mansion on the University of Missouri-Kansas City campus features 33 rooms filled with antique toys, dollhouses, marbles and scale miniatures dating from the mid-1800s to the present; includes an impressive collection of fine scale miniatures like Noah's Ark and the Palace of Versailles, antique dollhouses and the largest marble collection on display in the world

ADMISSION: Adults $7, Age 65+ and Students $6, Age 5-12 $5, Age 4 and under enter Free

DAYS & HOURS: Wed-Sat 10a-4p, Sun 1p-4p

ADDRESS: 5235 Oak Street  MAP

PARKING: Free on premises

PHONE: 816-333-9328

WEBSITE: http://www.umkc.edu/tmm

Kansas City Museum - Union Station
Its like visiting a time machine – okay maybe that’s a stretch, but the mansion-turned-museum gives you a sense of Kansas City from the 1800s onwards with regional history displays, a 50-seat planetarium and natural history dioramas; Starlight Inside The Museum Planetarium lets you gaze upon the stars with each show is designed to highlight constellations as they appear throughout the year; donations suggested upon entry.

ADMISSION: Science City $10, Extreme Screen $8.50, Children & Seniors $7, KC Rail Experience $7, Model Railroad Experience FREE with any Union Station ticket, Planetarium $6, City Stage -prices vary

DAYS & HOURS: Tue-Sat 9:30a-4:30p, Sun Noon-4:30p

ADDRESS: 30 West Pershing Road  MAP

PARKING: Four-level per hour parking garage on the west side of Union Station

PHONE: 816-483-8300

WEBSITE: http://www.unionstation.org

Independence, MO

Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum
Became President in 1945, when Franklin Roosevelt died in office; Famous for the sign on his desk which read, “The Buck Stops Here”; Despite a lot of political heat, President Truman deserves props for issuing the executive order in 1947 to integrate America’s armed services; his papers which formally desegregated the services are on view here.

ADMISSION: $8 Adults, $7 Age 65+, $3 Ages 6-15, Ages 5 and under

DAYS & HOURS: Mon-Sun 9a-5p, Thu 9a-9p

ADDRESS: 500 West US Highway 24  MAP

PARKING: Free on premises

 

PHONE: 816-833-1225

WEBSITE: http://www.trumanlibrary.org

Liberty, MO

Jesse James Bank Museum
Site of the first U.S. daylight, peacetime bank robbery; located on the northeast corner of the historic Liberty square

ADMISSION: small fee

DAYS & HOURS: Mon-Sat 10a-4p

 

ADDRESS: 103 North Water Street  MAP

PARKING: on street

PHONE: 816-781-4458

WEBSITE: http://www.historicdowntownliberty.org

18TH & VINE DISTRICT

This famous district was a magnet for Black folks from Omaha to Oklahoma City point to the intersection of 18th & Vine, those two streets are but the epicenter of a larger district historically and approximately bounded by 12th Street, Troost Ave, 23rd Street and Prospect Ave. One could also make a good case for The Paseo & 18th. This district operated fairly autonomously for many years before integration. You had small businesses of all types, not just restaurants and nightlife. Make be clear about this, 18th & Vine has always been about the business of entertainment.

Even though African Americans lived on the scene before hand, the place really exploded as a magnet for gangsters, musicians and their ecosystems in 1925. That year marked the beginning of Mayor Tom Pendergast's political machine, which only practiced lax enforcement of liquor, gambling, and prostitution laws. In these Prohibition years, gangsters appreciated that Kansas City was a Wide Open town.  European Americans received clean and efficiently managed residential areas. Gangsters who deftly avoided the newspaper and kept the bribes kept flowing, made a killing. Most African American residential areas, though poorer, were fairly well managed.

Gangsters knew that great music was essential to reel guests in and to compliment the vices they offered. Nightclubs existed all over town, at 12th & Cherry, gangster-owned nightclubs catered to mostly to white patrons and had Black performers. But there were many other Black-owned and Black-friendly nightclubs and dance halls that catered to African Americans. Most of these were at 18th & Vine or on 12th Street east of The Paseo. These clubs had dances two and three times a week and everybody who could attend did. Some dance halls even had different social club dances in shifts around the clock.

Even though 1938 marked the end of the Pendergast Machine and a subsidence in gangster-related activity, 18th & Vine still jumping.  Kansas City Monarch baseball players, and the legacy of jazz musicians and the Theater Owner's Booking Association (TOBA) made sure of that. The likes of Satchel Paige and Buck Leonard, when baseball provide the majority of our sports heroes, ensured that all the ladies and fellas came to 18th & Vine after the game. To get a more comprehensive perspective on what this meant, note that people dressed in the Sunday best before going to a game, even preachers would urge their congregations to attend the game after church. There were often parades to a Monarchs game, coming from the 18th & Vine district.

 

Heydays don't last forever. As mentioned in the Historical Context, Black flight due to desegregation, suburban freeways, malls and the radio brought an end to the district's vitality of 18th & Vine in the late 1950s-early 1960s. Even New York contributed to its demise, as most jazz musicians migrated there for work. One by one the clubs closed like dominoes. By the 1970s, many were torn down. Their empty lots left open like unhealed wounds. 


Thankfully, Kansas Citians awakened to their cultural and historical treasure. No longer would this revered place past quietly in the night.  The heritage of 18th & Vine's was restored in 1997 after a $26 million redevelopment project. The area now features the American Jazz Museum, the Horace M. Peterson, III Visitor's Center, the renovated Gem Theater and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and a couple of restaurants. Rounding out major cultural attractions in the district are the Black Archives of Mid-America and the Mutual Musicians Foundation. One also sees murals and signage of historical Black businesses. It is both inspiring to see homage paid to businesses in a traditional African American business community. Still the redevelopment district has an unfinished quality. But that says more about the Black community's integration into greater Kansas City than the quality of what's there and the plans for more. It seems that the area is only embraced by locals during festival, but credit a number of nightclub owners for keeping it real.

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