African American history

The Emmett Till Memory Project

In 1955, Emmett Till — a black Chicago teenager visiting his relatives in Mississippi — was brutally murdered after reportedly whistling at a white woman. The 14-year-old was abducted, beaten, shot and dumped into the Tallahatchie River with a 75-pound cotton-gin fan tied with barbed wire around his neck.

University of Kansas professor Dave Tell wrote an article contradicting a 50-year-old version of the crime that had been spelled out in Look magazine. This eventually led him to start the Emmett Till Memory Project. Tell recently spoke with KMUW's Carla Eckels about the project and the 63-year-old murder case that helped spark the civil rights movement.

Edgar B. Smith/wichitaphotos.org

This year is the 60th anniversary of the first successful student-led sit-in of the modern civil rights movement. And it didn’t happen in the South, but rather in the heart of the Midwest: in Wichita.

Courtesy photo

Historical documents, audio interviews and artifacts will be on display at Wichita State University's Ablah Library on Sunday as part of the Wichita African American Business History Project.

Between 2011 and 2014, WSU professor Robert Weems recorded dozens of interviews and collected historical artifacts to tell the story of a cross-section of prominent black business owners in Wichita. Weems says black businesses were an integral part of the black community.

Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

Blink while driving on Highway 34 east of Greeley, Colorado, and you might miss the former Great Plains town of Dearfield.

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Brown v. Board of Education is the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case that ended legal segregation in the public school system. That was in 1954. Now a mural commemorating the case will be painted inside the Kansas Statehouse in Topeka.

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On Tuesday, Inter-Faith Ministries in Wichita will host an exhibit opening that presents posters from the Smithsonian Institute’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture, as well as local artwork.

Garland Egerton, executive director for Inter-Faith Ministries, says the event will be a great way to learn about the new museum in Washington and will include posters about the roots of jazz and the Alvin Alley Dancers.

Alan Karchmer for NMAAHC

When the Smithsonian Institution opens the National Museum of African American History and Culture this Saturday, Sept. 24, in Washington, D.C., the celebration will reach beyond the nation's capital to Bethel College in North Newton.

Carla Eckels

The Kansas African American Museum held a community discussion on Wednesday about a civil rights trail tour taken by Wichitans to Alabama. The summer trip yielded Kansas ties.

The diverse group went to historic sites in Birmingham, Selma and Montgomery. Museum Director Mark McCormick says the group's tour of Selma included a Wichita dimension: A monument, featured in last year's Selma movie, is dedicated to Wichita Rev. James Reeb, a martyr of the civil rights movement.

McCormick says a Recall drugstore in Selma links back to Wichita’s 1958 Dockum Drugstore sit-in.