Defining Black Wichita is a three-part exhibition series that chronicles the evolution of the African American community in Wichita, Kansas. Each exhibition within this series depicts the education, social endeavors, religion, and businesses that watered the African American community, a hallmark in the greater city of Wichita during marked periods of time over the span of 150 years.
Part 1: “Black Belt Beginnings”- 1870’s to 1930’s, runs through Nov. 23, 2019
The African American community of Wichita was well on its way, many years before the incorporation of the city in 1870. In the 1870’s, the Civil War was just ending in America and after many grueling years of enslavement, African Americans all across this new nation were emancipated. Kansas, being the epicenter of the battle for the issue of slavery, spawned a breeding ground for the genesis of a thriving and enriched African American community in the heart of Wichita. In the first installation of Defining Black Wichita, we recollect the first 60 years of Wichita and the birth of “The Black Belt.” This burgeoning black community covered about 4 blocks between Main and Waco Streets, north of Central. Depictions of the businesses, schools, churches, and social lives of Wichita’s original African American pioneers, add color and texture to our city’s overall story as they embarked on creating a lasting imprint on fresh territory.
Part 2: “Heart of Community” – 1930s to 1970s will debut in 2020
Part 3: “Expanding Horizons” – 1970s to today will debut in 2021