Park University to Host Watkins Foundation Kickoff Event to Preserve Kansas City Area African-American History

Monday, May 22, 2017

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The Watkins Foundation of Kansas City, Mo., in conjunction with Park University and the Banneker School Alumni Association, will hold a kickoff event to launch a project to record the history of descendants of slaves and slave owners in the Kansas City region on Sunday, May 28 on the University’s Parkville Campus. The event, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 3 p.m. in the McCoy Meetin’ House.

According to Warren Watkins, the Missouri side of the Kansas City region was home to thousands of enslaved African-Americans and their owners. Approximately 3,000 slaves toiled on farms of Platte County, Mo., including the land on which Kansas City International Airport sits.

“The remarkable stories of families, both black and white, that were once linked to slavery in this area, is almost unknown to historians and in the community,” said Watkins.

Beyond recovering lost history, the stories will forge dialog of intercommunity understanding and healing. With each passing generation, the stories are at risk of being lost. The event on May 28 will help record and preserve the history of area families after slavery.

Along with Park University, the Watkins Foundation is receiving assistance from the Kansas City (Mo.) Public Library, Kansas City Museum, Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area, and the Banneker School Restoration Foundation and Historic Site.

For more information about the kickoff event or how to get involved in the project, contact Watkins at / (816) 547-9905.