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Kansas State University News - Newly Discovered Dr. King Recording

YouTube video of discovery - Dr King recording


emith temple to dockum

Without a sense of the past,
a people may lack a sense of purpose
or the ability to perceive a vision for the future. 

The Research on Black Wichita, Kansas (ROBW or ROBWKS) is a living project that explores the climate of Black Wichita during the 1940's and 1950's. 

Referring to the elders, teachers, mentors, and the community leaders of his childhood in Black Wichita, Dr. Vesey recalls that “they nurtured, taught and mentored us on how to become socially responsible and socially productive individuals. We virtually stood on their shoulders. This happened, in part, because we were socially interconnected by both people and ideas!”

    Moreover, the template used by caring and dedicated adults in shaping and molding the lives of Wichita Black youth, in the past, could prove to be a useful tool to contemporary planners and leaders who serve the city’s Black community as well as other city-wide youth groups. This could include community interventions and youth-oriented activities that emphasize a sense of humanity, a sense of community, and a strong sense of social consciousness. Finally, there is a real sense of urgency for this research inasmuch as most participants targeted for this study are elders and many of them are in fair to frail health. As Elaine Guillory, Administrative Assistant, the Kansas African American Museum notes: “There is little information preserved about African Americans in Wichita during any given period…” (Project Letter of Support, 3/21/08).

     Two of the five objectives of the ROBW are to expand the knowledge and understanding of both high school age youth and the general public of the five areas of critical importance to this study, and to demonstrate public and media evidence of a renewed sense of interest in local Black history. To this end, this project will use focus group methodology, individual interviews, formal documents, published reports and books, newspapers, media aids, and photographs to present a riveting report of Black Wichita: 1945-1958. Project planning includes creation of a video presentation for Black pioneers to tell their own stories, an official project website, and a Blog page for area youth to keep up with project information and findings.

     To assist the project director in implementing this project is a similar innovation that he developed in previous research conducted at Cornell University and at Bethel College, and referred to here as the Publication Advisory Committee (PAC). Comprised of community leaders, volunteers, educators, and retired or working professionals from the greater Wichita community, PAC members have been indispensable in early stages of this study. Denise Nickens Randle, a Robinson Middle School Social Studies teacher, has consented to serve as the PAC chairperson. Bethel College, located in North Newton, Kansas, has pledged to assume the cost of publishing the final project manuscript. In addition, Bethel College has invited the project director “to build a collaborative-inquiry seminar,” primarily, for their undergraduate students to gain practical experience in data searching associated with research activities of this project. The funding period for this grant is from June 1, 2008 to June 1, 2011.

    Established in 1986 to build charitable endowments and to serve donors, The Wichita Community Foundation’s goal is to build a stronger community by investing in people, organizations and institutions so they can contribute to their neighborhoods and communities.


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