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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.