Monday, August 29, 2011


The National Archives at Kansas City will host historian Dr. Delia Cook Gillis on Tuesday, August 30 at 6:30 p.m. for a discussion of her book Black America: Kansas City. Gillis will be available to sign copies of her book after the discussion. A 6:00 p.m. reception will precede the event. This program is presented in partnership with the Black Archives of Mid-America.

Since 1803, when York, a slave in the Lewis and Clark expedition, stood on the bluffs overlooking Kansas City, African Americans have contributed to the city’s rich history. Men and women like Tom Bass, Emily Fisher, Sam Sheperd, and Hiram Young aided in developing the region. Musicians such as Julie Lee, Bennie Moten, Joe Turner, and Count Basie turned Kansas City into a jazz mecca in the 1920s and 1930s. The professional class made their voice heard with the establishment of the Kansas City Monarchs baseball team, the Kansas City Call newspaper, and election of the city’s first black mayor, Emmanuel Cleaver, II. With over 200 vintage images, Gillis recreates this beautiful mosaic of the African American community.

About the author

Dr. Delia Cook Gillis is a professor of history and director of the Center for Africana Studies at the University of Central Missouri. Gillis holds a doctorate in history from the University of Missouri-Columbia; a masters of arts in history from the University of Central Missouri, and a bachelor of science degree in business and management from the University of Maryland. She is the author of numerous scholarly publications including a photographic history entitled Kansas City from Arcadia Publishing's Black America Series. Her essays, articles, and reviews appear in The Public Historian, Public History Resource Center, Jackson County Historical Society Journal, and the Encyclopedia of African American Business. Gillis is the recipient of the Lorenzo J. Greene Scholar's Award from the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). She currently serves on the boards of the Black Archives of Mid-America, the Missouri Humanities Council, and is the 2011-2012 president of the Kansas City Book Lovers Club established in 1904.

Copies of Black America: Kansas City will be available for purchase via the Kansas City Store onsite. For more information or to make a reservation for this free event call 816-268-8010 or email

The Black Archives of Mid-America collects and preserves for public access documents, photographs and other materials related to the history and culture of African Americans in the Central United States, with particular emphasis on the Kansas City area. The Black Archives is located at 1722 E. 17th Terrace, Kansas City, MO 64108. For more information, go here.

The National Archives at Kansas City is home to more than 50,000 cubic feet of historical records dating from the 1820s to the 1990s created or received by nearly 100 Federal agencies. Serving the Central Plains Region, the archives holds records from the states of Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota available for public access. The facility is located at 400 West Pershing Road, Kansas City, MO 64108. It is open to the public Tuesday-Saturday 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. for research, with the exhibits open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. For more information, call 816-268-8000 or visit:

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