Articles

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By the time Chester Franklin arrived in Kansas City in 1913, he was well experienced in the newspaper business.
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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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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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Reuben and Ella Street were prominent restaurateurs and hotel proprietors in Kansas City for nearly half a century. 

Andrew "Skip" Carter’s fascination with radio started early. Raised in Savannah, Georgia, he built his first radio set at age 14.

Described as barreling through life blind to failure, Bailus M. Tate Jr. worked his way up from shoveling coal in the basement of Kansas City Power and Light, retiring 33 years later as the utility giant’s vice president of human resources. 
As the founder and operator of Mrs. Meek’s Mortuary — recognizable for its pink limousines and building facade — Fannie L. Meek was a trailblazer, one of the few women of her time to go into the funeral business. 
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.
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. 
Henry Warren Sewing founded the Douglass State Bank, the first bank owned and operated by African Americans in the Midwest.
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.

Hiram Young was born about 1812 in Tennessee. In 1847, Young obtained freedom
and with his wife moved to Independence, Missouri. Taking advantage of his location

Dr. J. Edward Perry dedicated his adult life to providing quality health care to Kansas City’s African American community and advancing opportunities for Black physicians and nurses.
John F. Ramos set two important precedents in Kansas City — he was the first African American to become a board-certified radiologist (in 1950) and the first to take a seat on the Kansas City School Board (in 1964).
Farmer, landowner, and businessman Junius G. Groves was one of the wealthiest African Americans of the early 20th century.
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.
Thomas Unthank rose to prominence as a physician and the “father of Kansas City’s Negro hospitals.” As a youngster, the son of former slaves focused on his education and in 1894 gained admittance to the Howard University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C.
Physician, hospital administrator, newspaper publisher, and civil servant William J. Thompkins helped found General Hospital No. 2 in Kansas City, the first U.S. hospital staffed entirely by African Americans.