Business

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Reuben and Ella Street were prominent restaurateurs and hotel proprietors in Kansas City for nearly half a century. 
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The daughter of a house painter and a domestic worker, Inez Kaiser learned the value of hard work at a young age and made herself into a nationally known business leader. 
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Realizing that Black drivers were as swept up as anyone in the automobile craze of the 1920s, Homer B. Roberts became one of the first nation’s first African American car dealers. 
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By the time Chester Franklin arrived in Kansas City in 1913, he was well experienced in the newspaper business.
Journalist and civil rights advocate Lena Rivers Smith was one of the first African American women to work as a television news reporter in the Midwest.
Farmer, landowner, and businessman Junius G. Groves was one of the wealthiest African Americans of the early 20th century.
Herman and Dorothy Johnson achieved success in numerous endeavors while contributing to institutions and causes that strengthened the social and economic interests of the African American community.
Henry Warren Sewing founded the Douglass State Bank, the first bank owned and operated by African Americans in the Midwest.
The son of a farmer in Fort Scott, Kansas, Gordon Parks defied racism and his own impoverished beginnings to become one of the world’s great photographers, as well as an internationally recognized writer, composer, and filmmaker. 
One of Kansas City’s best-known Black businessmen, G. Lawrence Blankinship Sr. was born in Lake Charles, Louisiana, in 1913 and moved to Kansas City as a teenager.