Legendary for his play and his personality, Leroy Robert “Satchel” Paige entered the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971, the first Negro Leagues player so honored.
Sixteen years before the landmark case Brown v. Board of Education ended legal segregation in schools, Lloyd Gaines fought a court battle to attend the University of Missouri.
Bluford served as editor of The Kansas City Call for nearly 50 years and played an important role in the major civil rights battles of the 20th century.
Among the great jazz musicians, Mary Lou Williams was a piano prodigy and became a professional performer while in her teens.
Melvin B. Tolson became the first Poet Laureate of the Republic of Liberia. Born in Moberly, Missouri, Tolson spent his junior and senior years at Kansas City’s Lincoln High School.
Crosthwaite was one of the first African American social workers in Kansas City and spent decades working to improve health care for the local Black community.
Maj. N. Clark Smith was a prominent musician, composer, and instructor and one of the most accomplished African American bandmasters of the early 20th century.
Richard Thomas Coles was an educator who focused on teaching manual arts — practical, job-related skills — to his students. He was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1859 to parents who instilled the value of education.
Sumner High School English teacher Rebecca L. Bloodworth was born in Bethpage, Tennessee, received her bachelor’s degree from Atlanta University, and earned a master’s in English from Columbia University.
Rosie Mason was a law enforcement trailblazer, working 39 years in the Kansas City Police Department and serving as its first African American female officer.
Roy Wilkins led the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) from 1955 to 1977 and today is recognized as a giant of the civil rights struggle.
The son of former slaves, Samuel W. Bacote in 1895 became pastor of Second Baptist Church, one of Kansas City’s oldest and largest African American congregations.
Tom Bass broke down color barriers as a world-class equestrian and trainer of show horses over a career that spanned half a century.
The brief yet distinguished life of Wayne Miner was defined by sacrifice and valor. The son of former slaves, Miner was born in 1890 in Henry County, Missouri.
Lt. William Dominick Matthews was an African American officer of the Independent Battery, U.S. Colored Light Artillery, at Fort Leavenworth.