Kansas City Cultural Sites
DESCRIPTION: Built in 1912, this theater was fully restored to its former greatness — this point is significant because only a handful of Historically Black Theaters nationwide have been restored rather than destroyed. Today, it serves as popular entertainment venue for small concerts in the 18th & Vine District.
DAYS & HOURS: event dependent
ADDRESS: 1615 East 18th Street, Kansas City, MO MAP
Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey
DESCRIPTION: In 1984, Kansas City civic and cultural leaders were inspired by choreographer and dancer, Alvin Ailey, and his extraordinary vision: a diverse community united by dance to inspire and change lives. Together with Mr. Ailey, a multicultural coalition founded Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey (KCFAA) and established Kansas City as the second home of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, after New York City. KCFAA also offers arts education programs and AileyCamp, an award-winning program for young people. Call for calendar of events and venues.
DAYS & HOURS: Mon-Fri 9a-5p
ADDRESS: 1714 East 18th Street, Kansas City, MO MAP
Memorial to Charlie Parker
DESCRIPTION: In 1999, this 17-foot tall bronze bust was christened in honor of the most famous and beloved jazz player in Kansas City. Charlie Parker’s orginal nickname, “Yardbird”, was eventually shortened to “Bird.” Sculpted by Robert Graham, the memorial is located on a plot of land where Bird traversed as he made his rounds from various dwellings in the area to the nearby nightclubs in the 18th & Vine District.
ADDRESS: East 17th Street at The Paseo, Kansas City, MO MAP
Mutual Musicians Foundation
DESCRIPTION: For decades the foundation has been the after-hours meeting place for Kansas City Jazz musicians. What began as the Black Musicians Union Local 627 in 1904, and was later renamed the Mutual Musicians Foundation, purchased and moved into its present location in 1930. This center for the development of Jazz as an American art form was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1982.
DAYS & HOURS: Mon-Sat 2a-6p; jam sessions Friday & Saturday nights 1a-5a
ADDRESS: 1823 Highland, Kansas City, MO MAP
Black Archives of Mid-America
DESCRIPTION: This archives and African American museum located in the historic 18th and Vine District is a not-for-profit organization contains of one of the nation’s largest collections of Black art, paintings, sculptures, and research on the Kansas City area and famous local Black leaders. It chronicles the African American experience in the four-state area of Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Oklahoma. Group tours are available.
DAYS & HOURS: appt only, moving
ADDRESS: 2033 Vine Street, Kansas City, MO MAP
Bruce R Watkins Cultural Heritage Center & Museum
DESCRIPTION: This center was built to honor the contributions of African American residents of the Kansas City area by providing an arena for cultural events and is dedicated to the late city councilman, Bruce R. Watkins, and stands in tribute to the legacy of Kansas City’s early African American pioneers. It embodies the artistic, cultural and social history of the African American experience. Watkins was a political and social activist who was fueled by the need to recognize and preserve the varied contributions African American made to the development of Kansas city. The facility is part of a cultural mall complex, which includes the Spirit of Freedom Fountain, Satchel Paige Memorial Stadium and a hillside garden. The center houses an exquisite collection of African American historical artifacts of the region, a children’s workspace, a library, an auditorium and two art galleries.
DAYS & HOURS: Tue-Sat 10a-6p
ADDRESS: 3700 Blue Parkway, Kansas City, MO MAP
Spirit of Freedom Fountain
DESCRIPTION: One of the last projects started by late civic leader Bruce R. Watkins, this fountain was dedicated in 1981, exactly one year after his death. At the groundbreaking ceremony, Watkins said the wading pool/fountain was “dedicated to the men and women who came here a century ago, as slaves, who felled the trees, built the roads, launched their dreams”. The fountain’s sculptural centerpiece is an abstract flame representing freedom and incorporating the improvisational style of Kansas City Jazz. The fountain was designed by black sculptor Richard Hunt.
ADDRESS: between Cleveland Ave, Benton Blvd and Emanuel Cleaver Blvd, Kansas City, MO MAP
United Nation of Islam Community
DESCRIPTION: An offshoot of the Nation Of Islam, the United Nation of Islam and is headed by Minister Solomon, is known for sparking a wide variety of businesses in “Your Community.” UNI is very serious about building an ecosystem to control the money flow in the community. Here you’ll find a variety store, supermarket, gas station, restaurant, colonic treatment center, a construction company, cleaners, and they can food products. Allah’s Temple Academy is onsite.
SUNDAY WORSHIP: 2p
ADDRESS: Quindaro Street between 17th and 10th Streets, Kansas City, KS MAP
Buffalo Soldiers Monument
DESCRIPTION: On July 25, 1992 the 9th and 10th Cavalry Regiments, comprised of African American soldiers, were honored with the dedication by General Colin Powell of a magnificent bronze statue of a Buffalo Soldier in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. The Buffalo Soldiers, formed in 1866 as named by Cheyenne warriors, were instrumental in the opening of the West and were headquartered in Louisiana (9th Cavalry) and Kansas (10th Cavalry). The monument is surrounded by two pools of water and a nine foot waterfall.
ADDRESS: Fort Leavenworth, KS MAP