By Sylvia Maria Gross
Kansas City, MO – The Black Archives of Mid America was founded in 1972 by Kansas City historian Horace Peterson. Peterson collected tens of thousands of artifacts and papers pertaining to Kansas City's African American community, and African American history in general. He died unexpectedly in 1992, and the archives were increasingly neglected - boxes started to become moldy, the number of people on the board of directors dwindled to a few, and they failed to file the paperwork necessary to maintain non-profit status.
Last year, Attorney General Jay Nixon held three public hearings on the state of the archives, which resulted in the selection of a new board of directors, headed by Barbara Peterson. She's a lawyer, originally from Virginia, who moved to Kansas City when she married Horace Peterson. Barbara Peterson has worked for the Environmental Protection agency for 25 years, and never expected that she would roll up her sleeves and get back to work as president of the Black Archives' new board of directors.