Soul Of America





Historic Paseo YMCA, Kansas City



Kansas City, MO

18th & Vine Streets

DESCRIPTION: Literally every building in this district is part of the historic fabric of Black Kansas City

ADDRESS: 18th Street at Vine District

Paseo YMCA
DESCRIPTION: In 1920 in this Colored YMCA, Andrew “Rube” Foster founded Negro National League, which was the first for Negro League Baseball; prior to that founding Negro League teams performing in a barnstorming “unpredictable” business manner; this historic building awaits restoration

ADDRESS: 1800 Paseo Blvd between 18th and 19th Streets

12th Street Heritage District

DESCRIPTION: An area largely developed by Black barbecue entrepreneur Ollie Gates; in downtown’s shadows, it showcases what many consider the city’s finest example of a primarily privately financed Black business, office, shopping and residential urban corridor

ADDRESS: 12th Street and Brooklyn

Penn School Memorial Park
DESCRIPTION: Penn School was the first school built west of the Mississippi for educating Black children; the school was established in 1868 and closed in 1955; the building was destroyed by fire in 1969, but today the site is commemorated with the Penn School Memorial Park

ADDRESS: Westport Road at 43rd Street

Lucille Bluford Library

DESCRIPTION: Named in honor of the Editor and Publisher of The Kansas City Call, a weekly newspaper dedicated to the African American community; The library is a tribute to this nationally recognized figure who many consider the city’s most authoritative civil rights pioneer and stateswoman

ADDRESS: 3050 Prospect

PHONE: 816-924-1184

Independence, MO

Emily Fisher Gravesite

DESCRIPTION: In 1995, a local citizens group raised funds to place a granite marker at the gravesite of Fisher, who is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery; Fisher was a freed slave who, over 100 years ago, operated a successful hotel in Independence and was later credited with inventing a healing slave; the hotel was a noted stopping point for travelers heading West along the California, Oregon and Santa Fe Trails; information about her life is featured at the National Frontier Trails Center in Independence

ADDRESS: Noland Road and Pacific Street

PHONE: 816-325-7111

Blue Summit, MO

Charlie “Bird” Parker Gravesite

DESCRIPTION: Born in Kansas City, Kansas in 1920; Bird with a healthy assist from Dizzy Gillespie (1917-1993), deserves the lion’s share of the credit for taking “Swing Jazz” into “Bebop” era; the significance of this genre shift is manifest in the growth of small jazz groups instead of large jazz bands; Bebop, due to its requirement for a higher understanding of harmonics and individual musical skills, set the stage for modern jazz; ahead of his time, Bird was better recognized for his musical genius after his death in New York; fans wrote “Bird Lives” on sidewalks and buildings as a tribute to him; Parker played the tuba in high school and later purchased a saxophone, which he taught himself to play; he is most credited for developing the “Bop” style of Jazz and many of his works became Jazz standards; this world renown jazz saxophonist is buried in Lincoln Cemetery

ADDRESS: 8604 East Truman Road in Jackson County

Kansas City, KS

Quindaro Ruins

DESCRIPTION: Archaeological efforts are underway to preserve this Underground Railroad Site in the free state of Kansas, situated off the Missouri River, up a bluff; the site provides a rare window into the 1800s, since the area between the river and the ruins is undeveloped; tours available

ADDRESS: 27th Street and Sewell Ave

PHONE: 913-342-8683

John Brown Monument
DESCRIPTION: Near the hear of Kansas City, Kansas is a statue which pays tribute to the great John Brown, one of the nation's early day opponents of slavery

ADDRESS: 27th Street and Sewell Ave

PHONE: 913-321-5800


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