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New Kansas African American Museum Exhibit Showcases Legacy Of The Kerner Report

Dennis Bird, Star Ledger/Juliet Linderman /AP
Newark, 1967 and Baltimore, April 2015

A new exhibit opens at The Kansas African American Museum on Friday called "The Fire Next Time: The Legacy of the Kerner Report."

The Kerner Commission Report was released in 1968 after racial violence and rioting in urban areas across the country.

President Lyndon Johnson impaneled a special commission, named after Illinois Gov. Otto Kerner, to see why these riots were happening and how to prevent them from happening again.

Mark McCormick, executive director of TKAAM, says the images displayed at the museum illustrate the unrest.

"I was looking at what was happening in Ferguson, in Baltimore, what happened [in the '90s] in Los Angeles, and the similarities between what was happening back in the '60s...were just startling," McCormick says. "In the words of the report what caused these things, they still resonate today."

The report warned, “our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white–separate and unequal."

The opening reception for the exhibit will feature a panel of discussing the Kerner Report, policing and the legacy of urban development. The panelists include Wichita State University Professor of History Dr. Robert E. Weems, Jr., WSU Professor of Criminal Justice Michael L. Birzer and WSU Hugo Wall School of Public Affairs Professor Sam Brown.


Carla Eckels is assistant news director and the host of Soulsations. Follow her on Twitter @Eckels.

To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.


Carla Eckels is Director of Organizational Culture at KMUW. She produces and hosts the R&B and gospel show Soulsations and brings stories of race and culture to The Range with the monthly segment In the Mix. Carla was inducted into The Kansas African American Museum's Trailblazers Hall of Fame in 2020 for her work in broadcast/journalism.