Articles

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

Peterson was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and as a child moved with his family to Kansas City, Missouri. He graduated from Central High School in 1964 and attended Arkansas A&M College in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.
Hugh O. Cook, one of the longest-serving principals of Lincoln High School in Kansas City, Missouri, was born in Washington, D.C., graduated from Cornell University, and taught at Normal A&M College in Huntsville, Alabama.
As a renowned lecturer, clubwoman, and suffragist, Ida Bowman Becks led the local African American community in the pursuit of equality.
James Columbus “Jay” McShann was a prominent and influential jazz pianist and band leader. Growing up in Muskogee, Oklahoma, he defied his parents’ disapproval of his musical inclinations and taught himself to play the piano.
Joelouis Mattox’s dream as a young man was to teach high school history. Military service altered his course, but history — the pursuit and preservation of Kansas City’s African American past — remained a lifelong calling.
John A. Hodge, the longest-serving principal of Sumner High School in Kansas City, Kansas, was born in Shelbyville, Indiana, and received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physics from Indiana University.
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).
John Jordan O’Neil was born in Carrabelle, Florida. He was the second of three children born to John Sr., a sawmill worker, and Luella, a restaurant manager.
An inspiring teacher and passionate communicator, Josephine Silone Yates devoted her life to fighting racial prejudice.
Born in Boonville, Missouri, and raised in Kansas City, Julia Lee was a singer and pianist whose work incorporated both blues and jazz. 
Farmer, landowner, and businessman Junius G. Groves was one of the wealthiest African Americans of the early 20th century.
Ironically nicknamed “Speedy” for his slow, soft-shoe dancing style, L. C. Huggins’ roots stretched back to the city’s Golden Age of Jazz.
Lafayette Alonzo Tillman is remembered most for being one of Kansas City’s first African American police officers.
A leader of the Harlem Renaissance, James Mercer Langston Hughes was a writer and social activist who developed a new literary art form called jazz poetry. 
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.
The Jordans worked throughout their careers to expand the influence of African American voters and to increase the number of Black candidates for political office.
Leona Pouncey Thurman was the first African American woman to practice law in Kansas City. Born in Russellville, Arkansas, Thurman became interested in the legal profession after moving to Kansas City in 1931 and working as secretary for attorney James D. Pouncey.