Housed in the former Calvary Baptist Church, The Kansas African American Museum takes visitors on a cultural journey through the history of the black community in Kansas. The building was built in 1917 when church members worked together to finish the church, which would include a place to feature jazz artists and Negro League baseball stars. In 1993, the building was placed on the National Register of Historical Places, and the Kansas African American Museum moved into the space in 1997.
Inside the museum, visitors will find authentic artwork, photography, sculptures and information about famous African Americans with ties to Kansas. Actor Hattie McDaniel, known best for her role in “Gone With the Wind,” was born here. President Barack Obama’s mother and maternal grandfather were from Wichita.
The Kansas African American Museum works to make the history of African Americans resonate for every visitor. With many historical and educational events, like the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration, to “A Tribute to Trailblazers,” honoring the pioneers who helped shape African American history, there are a multitude of learning opportunities.
The museum has expanded its Civil Rights tour to include several stops in Wichita. From visiting a memorial for the Dockum Drugstore Sit-in to visiting the site of a deadly 1965 plane crash that took out much of a northeast Wichita neighborhood, visitors can learn about the city’s rich culture and the community’s fight against discrimination.
Guests will head to the ballpark and discover the history behind a 1925 game between the Ku Klux Klan and a local Negro team called the Monrovians at Ackerman Island Park (now, Lawrence-Dumont Stadium). Follow that up with a trip to a memorial of the national campaign with local roots. World War II's "Double V" campaign (victory at home against discrimination as well as victory abroad against the Axis) began with a letter from a Wichita cafeteria worker's letter to the nationally circulating Pittsburgh (PA.) Courier newspaper. Civil Rights tours are available by appointment only.
The Kansas African American Museum is now listed on the Kansas African American History Trail, a project to preserve the history of black Americans through the teaching and awareness of history. As of 2017, the museum joined with partners to tell the story of black Americans in Kansas at a collection of historical sites. Those sites include the following:
Learn more about the history of Wichita at these other museums.