Area attractions honor achievements of African-Americans
February is designated as National Black History Month. Recently, Lonely Planet, the global leader in travel publishing, praised KC’s “vibrant African-American community” when it named KC as of its “Top 10 U.S. Destinations for 2014.” Several area attractions pay tribute to the contributions of African-Americans this month and all year long.
Below is list of special celebrations for the month and on-going exhibits that commemorate KC’s black history.
American Jazz Museum
- Feb. 27 – Stories from the Vine: “One-on-One” with Dr. David C. Driskell, 6 p.m. Renowned painter and collector Driskell will share his insights during this intimate discussion on how visual, performing and film artists influence and draw on the creation of their works.
Discussion to be held in the American Jazz Museum’s Atrium. For more information, visit www.americanjazzmuseum.org.
Black Archives of Mid-America in Kansas City
- Feb. 1 – “From Slave Ship to Harvard, Yarrow Mamout and the History of an African-American Family,” 2-4 p.m. with reception immediately following. Author James H. Johnston, who grew up in Independence, will discuss his new book, a true story of an African-American family from colonial period to Harvard and present day.
This event to be held at The Black Archives of Mid-America in Kansas City, 1722 E. 17th Terr. More information available at www.blackarchives.org.
- Feb. 11 – “Harriet Tubman,” a stirring drama set to music is a classic tribute to abolitionist Harriet Tubman, 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Part of the Folly Kids’ Series.
For more information or to purchase tickets call 816-474-4444 or visit www.follytheater.org.
Kansas City Public Library
- Feb. 7 – “Tommy Terrific’s Magic Show,” for children of all ages, celebrates trumpeter, singer and jazz pioneer Louis Armstrong.
- Feb. 8 – Black Classics Book Club will discuss humorous pieces by well-known and not so well-known African-American authors from “Hokum: an Anthology of African-American Humor."
- Feb. 11, 14 – “Brother John.” This musical tribute by storyteller Brother John (portrayed by Carr Mel Brown) brings jazz artists Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and others to life.
- Feb. 18 – Preschool Storytime: “This is the Rope: A Story from the Great Migration.” A rope passed down from generations frames an African-American family’s story as they journeyed North during the time of the Great Migration.
- Feb. 19 –“An Evening with Frederick Douglass.” Veteran re-enactor Charles Everett Pace brings his one-man show to KC to portray abolitionist Frederick Douglass.
For times and locations, go to www.kclibrary.org.
Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art
- Feb. 28 – Artist Talk + Happy Hour: Trenton Doyle Hancock. In conjunction with the exhibit “Dressed Up,” artist Trenton Doyle Hancock speaks about the developing themes in his artwork. “Dressed Up” an exhibition of art – photography, collage and paintings on display through April 27.
Visit www.kemperart.org for more information.
The National Archives at Kansas City
- Feb. 20 – Panel discussion, “Fifty Years of Civil Rights: The Movement That Changed the World,” presented in partnership with the Greater Kansas City Black History Study Group, 6:30 p.m.
- Feb. 22 – Film screening of “Created Equal, Freedom Riders” with panel discussion immediately following at the Black Archives of Mid-America, 2 p.m.
- Feb. 25 – Local author Phil Dixon will lead a discussion on “Jack Johnson: Contradictions to History from a Heavyweight Champion’s Unpublished Prison Manuscript,” 6:30 p.m.
For more information, call 816-268-8000 or visit www.archives.gov/kansas-city.
Negro Leagues Baseball Museum
- Feb. 13 – “A Stroke of Genius!” A conversation with acclaimed artist and author Kadir Nelson, who will discuss and sign copies of his books including “We Are the Ship: The Story of the Negro Leagues” and “Testing the Ice: A True Story of Jackie Robinson,” 6 p.m.
The event is free but reservations are recommended. Call 816-221-1920 to reserve.
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
- Through May 18 “History & Hope: Celebrating the Civil Rights Movement” brings together photographs, drawings and prints that acknowledge the role artists and musicians played in the civil rights struggle. This exhibit was created in collaboration with the American Jazz Museum, The Black Archives and The Nelson.
For more information, call 816-751-1278 or visit www.nelson-atkins.org.
All Year Long
AMERICAN JAZZ MUSEUM
- Located in the 18th & Vine Historic Jazz District in Kansas City, this is the place where jazz masters such as Charlie Parker, Count Basie and hundreds of others defined the sounds of the 1920s, 30s and 40s. The museum includes interactive exhibits and educational programs.
Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art
- Best known for his portraits of jazz performers, fellow artists and other creative individuals, Frederick James Brown created the Kemper Museum's monumental work “The History of Art” (1994/2000), a series of 110 paintings that lines the walls of Café Sebastienne. The exhibition features paintings from the Kemper Museum's permanent collection, a significant holder of the artist's works.
Mutual Musicians Foundation
- Located in the 18th & Vine Historic Jazz District, the Foundation was originally home to the Black Musicians' Protective Union Local 627 American Federation of Musicians. This national historic landmark hosts fierce late-night jam sessions, midnight-6 a.m., Fri.-Sat.
National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial
- The permanent exhibit showcases African-American men serving in cavalry, infantry, signal, medical, engineer and artillery units, as well as serving as chaplains, surveyors, truck drivers, chemists and intelligence officers and African-American women who were employed in a number of war industries, including munitions production.
NEGRO LEAGUES BASEBALL MUSEUM
- The 10,000 square-foot multimedia exhibit chronicles the history and heroes of the Negro Leagues from their origin after the Civil War to their demise in the 1960s.
- Located on the Missouri River, Quindaro began as a boomtown and evolved into a stop on the Underground Railroad. Artifacts are on display at the Wyandotte County Museum.
THE NELSON-ATKINS MUSEUM OF ART
- The museum’s acclaimed African collection comprises approximately 300 objects that are diverse in form and in media. Masks, sculptures, hair combs, headrests, textiles and vessels are among the many types of works represented; media include fiber, metal, wood, beads and clay.