KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Restoring the past in order to rewrite the future;Black Archives of Mid-America preserves important stories to African Americans in the community.
“All of those things about building Black lives and culture are preserved here and shared here,” Black Archives of Mid-America Executive Director Carmaletta Williams said.
For nearly 50 years, since 1974, The Black Archives of Mid America has been preserving stories that are not only important to African Americans but helped shape our community.
“People are interested in knowing about little details of their life or big movements that occurred over the course of their lives. They haven’t had access to that since the archives were formed,” Black Archives of Mid-America archivist Deborah Barker said.
The artifacts that live inside the Black Archives offer glimpses into dark stories of the past — soil from lynching sites across the the state of Missouri, a look inside a preserved slave cabin and treasures belonging to a woman named Lucy, enslaved in Missouri.
This dedicated team says their work isn’t easy, but it is worth while.
“I organized everything part of our collection in the very same way: by people, biographies first, and then subjects, and then specific subjects pertaining to the Black history experience here in Kansas City,” Baker said.
Their mission of collecting, preserving, exhibiting, sharing and educating started in 1974, and it continues today to ensure Black stories of the past don’t get lost in time.
“The community wants a Black archives they want an active Black archives,” Williams said.