The KC Black Archives of Mid-America reopens to public

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - What started out as a community request six years ago has been realized Saturday at the Grand Opening Ceremony for the Black Archives of Mid-America.

The ceremonies Saturday included opening remarks, ribbon cutting, presentations, exhibits and tours of the new facility.

When the Black Archives closed in 2006 because of financial difficulties, community outcry sparked public hearings in which residents stressed the importance of the Archives role in documenting African American culture in the development of Kansas City.

All of that history is now back on display at the Archives new home at 1722 E. 17th Terrace, Formerly the Parks and Recreation Maintenance facility, the building has been renovated to accommodate the collection with financial support from the Parks and Recreation Department of Kansas City, Kaufmann Foundation and Kansas City Public Library.

The Archives showcased "My Eyes No Longer Blind" at the opening ceremonies, an exhibit that will become part of the permanent collection. The display recounts the struggle African Americans faced in establishing their communities in the greater Kansas City area. The exhibit is funded by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

Upcoming public events at the Black Archives of Mid-America include:

June 20, Wednesday, 7 p.m., Public Speaking event with Dr. Lonnie Bunch, founding director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History & Culture, free and open to the public. Reception begins at 6 p.m.

• June 23, Saturday, 8 a.m.- 4 p.m., Family Day at the Archives. There will be a debate between Sumner and Lincoln High Schools, poetry, generation rap broadcasts, reenactments, hands-on activities and more.

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