Next week, KU will host a Black Arts Poetry Conference, which will feature readings by poets Frank X. Walker and Kevin Young at the Black Archives of Mid-America. A poet and one of the conference organizers discuss the past, present and future of African American poetry.

Suzanne Hogan / KCUR

When national news editors review the top stories of 2014, Ebola, Isis and the World Cup might top the list.

But when we talk to editors of some hyper-local Kansas City papers, very different stories emerge.

Joe Jarosz, managing editor, Northeast News:

Western Newspaper Union / NARA/Wikimedia Commons

They served with distinction in World War I but the Buffalo Soldiers are not always remembered for their contributions during the Great War.

On Monday's Up to Date, we look at these regiments of African-American soldiers, their heroism and the racism they faced. 


Simon & Schuster

He was a pitchman for Jell-O and got us moving with Fat Albert. He was the first black man to star in a television drama and gave fatherly advice in the TV show that bore his name and changed the way many people in America viewed African-Americans.

Courtesy / Black Archives of Mid-America

In an age before the internet—and in an environment that in some ways promoted isolation and disconnection—African-Americans in Kansas City in the early 20th century still found ways to find connection and community.

Churches and social clubs have been called the “glue” that held the black community together, alongside families and schools, and a new exhibit at the Black Archives of Mid-America chronicles some of that important history.


  • Michael Sweeney, collection librarian for the Black Archives of Mid-America
Courtesy / Shane Evans

Kansas City author and illustrator, Shane Evans, will be at two events this weekend showcasing his new children's book and film, Chocolate Me!.

Chocolate Me! is a collaboration with actor and model, Taye Diggs, known for his roles in the original Broadway production of Rent and the movie How Stella Got Her Groove Back. Although Diggs often plays the hunk on the silver screen, as a kid he was teased for his looks.

Susan B. Wilson / KCUR

According to the National Cheerleading Association, more than 3 million Americans participate in the sport. But cheerleading is no longer just about pom-poms and whipping crowd spirit into a frenzy, it has evolved into a bona fide sport where many athletes — as they are now considered — train year-round.

These athletes work on the strength, balance and gymnastic skills they need to stand out and win competitions. I recently visited a gym in Grandview where teaching girl power and the sport of cheerleading go hand in hand.

James C. Cassatt

Looking back, desegregating the military seems like the obvious thing to do, but in the 1940s and 50s, it wasn't so clear for Harry Truman.

Ask a school kid, and he or she will tell you that slavery in America ended in the mid-1860s. But when did the movement against slavery start?

African-American Read In

Feb 19, 2013

As part of Black History Month activities, UMKC is hosting an African-American Read In Feb. 20 and 28. Employees of the UMKC library and the public will read aloud from some of their favorite African-American literature and writing.

Library of Congress

Bellman, concierge, housekeeper, valet: If the job of the Pullman porter  was complex, his place in the American consciousness is even harder to pin down.

Essence Magazine

Magazines have long been a primary source for entertainment and news. But as KU assistant professor Crystal Lumpkins points out, magazines are also crucial in providing women with tips and awareness on health issues.

Stories Of The Southern Working Class

Jun 15, 2012

On this Monday's Central Standard, author Stephanie Powell Watts shares a collection of short stories inspired by the uneducated and the the aspiring. Many of her characters are based on her own life or the lives of someone she's encountered.

Playing The Dozens: A History Of Rap's Mama

Jun 5, 2012

On this Tuesday's Central Standard, a look at a tradition of African American verbal combat and insults that’s ruled neighborhoods and childhoods long before rap. At the heart of this tradition? 'Yo Mama jokes.

A traveling exhibition, exploring 500 years of African-American history, from slavery to the present-day, is coming to Union Station this fall.

Kansas City, Mo. – A traveling exhibition, exploring 500 years of African-American history, from slavery to the present-day, is coming to Union Station this fall. KCUR's Laura Spencer reports.

Kansas City, MO – Across the country, African American women tend to be more likely to be working mothers than white women, especially educated African American mothers.

Census data from 2005 shows that 84 percent of college-educated black mothers are in the labor force, compared to 74 percent of college-educated white mothers. And the women of color who choose to stay at home and raise families can face special barriers and isolation.

Kansas City, MO – On a rainy and overcast Saturday morning, about fifty people gathered at Spring Valley Park at 27th and Brooklyn. Members of Sol Pro Bassmasters, a mostly- African American fishing club were stationed around a small lake which is anchored by large weeping willow tree. The men are dressed in distinctive red, black, white and white jackets and hats with the Sol Pro logo.