“Strength through Numbers” Symposium on Quindaro, KS, April 19-21, 2018

Symposium LogoThe symposium “Strength through Numbers,” scheduled for April 19-21, 2018, will contribute to the process of designating the ruins of the Quindaro townsite as a National Historic Landmark. The symposium will begin with a keynote address by University of Washington historian Quintard Taylor on Thursday, April 19, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Kansas City Public Library’s Central Branch, 14 W 10th Street, Kansas City, Missouri. On Friday and Saturday, April 20-21, symposium sessions will be held at Memorial Hall, 600 North 7th Street Trafficway, Kansas City, Kansas. The symposium is cosponsored by a number of partners, including the Center for Midwestern Studies, Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area, the Kansas City Public Library, the Missouri Humanities Council, UMKC’s Black Studies Program, and UMKC’s Department of History.

Quindaro, Kansas was a port town founded in 1857 as a safe harbor for free-state migrants and escaped slaves, after pro-slavery residents blockaded all other ports on the Missouri River. The community was home to Native Americans, whites, and free blacks, and became a vital stop on the Underground Railroad. On April 19, Dr. Quintard Taylor, a specialist in African American history in the American West, will deliver a lecture about this community entitled “Quindaro: The Coming of Freedom in the Decade of Civil War.” Dr. Taylor’s talk will explore the history of the Kansas-Missouri border region from 1855-1865 – the forces and events that led to vicious fighting along the Kansas-Missouri border, brought about the establishment of the town of Quindaro, and ultimately resulted in the end of slavery in the United States. This event is free but registration through the Kansas City Public Library is required.

The symposium sessions, on Friday and Saturday, April 20-21, will bring scholarship about the historical significance of the Quindaro community to a broader public audience, and facilitate discussions about the future of the historic site. Admission to the symposium sessions is free. To view a schedule of the sessions, or to register, please visit the Quindaro Symposium’s event page on the Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area website.

Edward E. Baptist, White Predators, Free States: From the Fugitive Slave Act to George Zimmerman

White Predators, Free States

On Thursday, April 5, at 6:30 pm, Cornell University historian Edward E. Baptist will deliver the annual Richard D. McKinzie Lecture. His talk, entitled “White Predators, Free States: From the Fugitive Slave Act to George Zimmerman,” will address the history of race relations in the United States since 1856. Baptist is a historian of capitalism and slavery in the United States, and the author of The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism and Creating an Old South. His work highlights the central importance of slavery to the economic development of the United States. The discomfort caused by this truth is often alleviated, at least in part, by reference to the Underground Railroad – the network of activists, usually depicted as white, that helped slaves escape to the North. But this narrative obscures the much larger network, backed by the authority of the federal and state governments and supported by the majority of the white population, that existed to hunt escaped slaves and to control the lives of African Americans who lived in so-called free states.

The McKinzie Lecture will take place at the Plaza Branch of the Kansas City Public Library, 4801 Main Street, Kansas City, Missouri. The event is free and open to the public, but a reservation is requested through the Kansas City Public Library.

This event is co-presented by UMKC’s Division of Diversity and Inclusion, Center for Midwestern Studies, Bernardin Haskell Lecture Fund, History Department, and High School/College Partnerships program.

Historic Marker Honoring KC LGBT History to be Unveiled in Downtown KC

glama-eventBronze plaque commemorates 1st-ever Meeting of National Gay and Lesbian Rights Activists

In 1966, 39 national LGBT civil rights leaders joined each other to plan strategies and develop collaborations. They met, for the first time ever, at the State Hotel formerly on 12th and Wyandotte Streets in Kansas City, Missouri.

That small, 2-day conference included major gay and lesbian political figures from both the east and west coasts. There were representatives of the Mattachine Society, including founder and Missouri native Hal Call; the two founders of the Daughters of Bilitis, the first lesbian advocacy group; founding members of ONE, Inc., out of Los Angeles. This consortium became known as the North American Conference of Homophile Organizations – “homophile” a term used at the time as we use “LGBT” today.

Immediately after the Kansas City meeting, Drew Shafer and other local organizers formally established the Phoenix Society for Individual Freedom, Kansas City’s first gay advocacy organization.

In partnership with the Gay and Lesbian Archive of Mid-America, LGBT-KC, a community volunteer committee, is unveiling an historical marker across from the hotel site, commemorating both the 50th anniversary of that historic meeting and the founding of the Phoenix Society. GLAMA and LGBT-KC have been working for nearly two years with representatives of City Hall and Visit KC on the marker project.

“We are thrilled to shine a light on this hidden piece of Kansas City history and milestone of the struggle for LGBT civil rights in America”, said David Jackson, a member of LGBT-KC.

GLAMA has planned several talks and presentations leading up to the unveiling event.

Sunday, October 16     2:00 pm    
“Phoenix Rising: the Homophile Movement comes to Kansas City”
Kevin Scharlau, award-winning historian of Kansas City homophile history
Kansas City Public Library | 14 W. 10th Street, Kansas City, MO 64105   (816) 701-3400
This event is part of the Missouri Valley Speaker Series

Tuesday, October 18     6:00 pm
“Before Stonewall: the First Generation of LGBT Activism”
John D’Emilio, U. of Illinois – Chicago Emeritus Professor of History and noted LGBT historian
UMKC Student Union | Student Union, 5100 Cherry St, Kansas City, MO 64110

Thursday, October 20     5:45 pm
Unveiling Ceremony | Introducing the bronze historic marker commemorating the first-ever national meeting of LGBT rights activists, and KC’s first LGBT advocacy organization
Barney Allis Plaza, northeast corner at the intersection of 12th and Wyandotte Streets.

Speakers: Kansas City Council members Katheryn Shields and Jolie Justus
Performance: Members of the Heartland Men’s Chorus.
Reception: Post-unveiling, at the Phillips Hotel 106 W 12th St, Kansas City, MO 64105


Event Partners Include: LGBT-KC Committee; UMKC LGBTQIA Programs and Services; UMKC Departments of Communication Studies, English, History, Theater, and Women and Gender Studies; Kansas City Public Library, Visit KC