The Old Quindaro Museum
The Old Quindaro Museum is located in Kansas City, Kansas, and is the single African American Museum found in Wyandotte County. The museum’s founder is Jesse Hope who had hoped to bring back the life of the city and its history. The museum reveals the existence of African Americans in the Old Quindaro Township from 1856 to now. Guided tours of the museum are offered by appointment.
Backstory and Context
When a request was mailed to every property and landowner in the area of Old Quindaro in 1982, the citizens of the town became worried. The request was for a “Special Use” permit for Browning Ferris Industries to create and run a sanitary landfill. The Landmark Commission did not pass the permit in 1983, but the Kansas City, Kansas Commission did. It was after this that a group of people from the area came together to talk about the issue that would affect their area. During this meeting, “The Concerned Citizens for Old Quindaro” was formed, and they created a board of directors with Jesse Hope as the Chairman, Accie Taylor as Vice Chairman, J.C. Clark as Secretary, and Kay Moore as Treasurer. This collection of people, with many other people of the area, has formed into the group present there now.
Through fundraising the group was able to hire a lawyer, Grover Hankins from the Basil North Law Firm. Hankins sued Kansas City under the stance that they were being irrational and erratic by their decision to allow the “Special Use” permit, and that it was not right to the citizens of Quindaro. At the same time of this trial, The Concerned Citizens for Old Quindaro managed to get Quindaro named as a historical district. The group lost the trial in 1982 but it allowed for archaeological research in 1984 that found the beginnings of the first “Quindaro Township.” This allowed the Concerned Citizens for Quindaro to protect specific places like Quindaro Park, the cemetery, the ruins, and more places.
Now, the Concerned Citizens for Quindaro have played a huge part in creating the “Abandoned Cemetery Act.” They eventually overthrew the landfill permit, and assisted in naming a large part of the first Quindaro town as a historical district, renovating the cemetery, and has put a historical landmark down as part of their efforts. To stop littering here a gate was placed in 1982 by the group and was made by Archie Lyons. This act has assisted in keeping the old design of the area the same as it was prior to when people came to live here in the 1850s.1
The museum itself has an abundance of items that show the tales of slaves who gained freedom in the 1800s in present day Kansas City and how they created a strong all-black neighborhood with education and business facilities and churches. Some of the items included in the museum are chains that were put on slaves and a big knife that slaves would use to chop corn stalks and use them to shield women and children from the sight of people looking for slaves. Several of the slaves from this area arrived from the slave state of Missouri. The Native American residents of the area provided the slaves with property that would become the town of Old Quindaro. The National Park Service has credited the museum for its efforts in explaining the past of the Underground Railroad in the United States. It also provides a course known as Roots of Promise that helps explain the town’s past to youth.2
1: "The Old Quindaro Museum". Old Quindaro Museum. Accessed on July 3, 2015, http://www.oldquindaromuseum.org/history/
2: "Old Quindaro Museum tells the story of slaves in 1800s who found freedom in Kansas." KSHB 41. Accessed on July 3, 2015, http://www.kshb.com/news/region-kansas/kck/old-quindaro-museum-in-kck-tells-story-of-former-slaves-i...