Articles

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. 
Rosemary Smith Lowe broke color barriers in a segregated city, forged Black political power, raised up neighborhoods and, even in her 70s, stood as a fulcrum of peace between police and angry youths.
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. 
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.
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.
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.
For three decades, William Fambrough documented African American life in Kansas City through his photographs.

First Sergeant William A. Messley (also known as Measley) of Company C, 62nd United States Colored Troops, posed for this portrait shortly after his enlistment in late 1863.

Bishop William T. Vernon served twice in leadership positions — including president — at Western University in Quindaro, Kansas, the first African American college founded west of the Mississippi River. 
The musician most closely associated with Kansas City jazz, pianist and bandleader William Basie was born in New Jersey and came to Kansas City in the late 1920s.

When I started at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum as a volunteer 27 years ago, I considered myself very much a baseball fan.

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. 
Benjamin “Bennie” Moten was an influential pianist and bandleader whose career was essential to the development of Kansas City-style jazz. 
By the time Chester Franklin arrived in Kansas City in 1913, he was well experienced in the newspaper business.
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.