Day 1 You’ll See:
- American Jazz Museum
- Negro Leagues Baseball Museum
- Kansas City Urban Youth Academy
- Gates BBQ
Day 2 You’ll See:
- Black Archives of Mid America
- Union Station
Kansas City is full of amazing Black History sites throughout the city, especially with the historic 18th and Vine District, where your group can learn all about jazz, baseball, and the African American communities contribution to the city overall!
American Jazz Museum
The American Jazz Museum works to preserve the history of American jazz music by showcasing the 'sights and sounds of jazz' through interactive exhibits and films. Explore the multitude of artifacts, graphics, and artwork that further explore the lives and legends of such well-known jazz musicians as Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, and Louis Armstrong. See photos, sheet music, posters, and personal artifacts such as Charlie Parker's Grafton Saxophone or one of Ella Fitzgerald's sequenced gowns. Be sure to check to see if there are any live events, concerts, or programs happening during the time of your visit, with public education programs for all ages as well as concerts within the Blue Room Jazz Club or Gem Theater performing arts center happening regularly.
Negro Leagues Baseball Museum
Built to preserve the history of African-American baseball, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum is an educational, informational, and fully immersive attraction based on a very important piece of social Civil Rights history. With artifacts dating back to the early 1860s leading through the 1960s, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum is a wholly authentic representation of African American baseball and of the state of social segregation in the United States. This is not a hall of fame, as it has been called, but a tool of education based on the complete story with all of the history, trials, and successes, and nostalgia of real-life events. This self-guided museum follows the strict chronology of events of African American history as well as baseball history from 1860s-1960s.
Kansas City Urban Youth Academy
MLB's Urban Youth Academy is also located in the historic 18th and Vine District, this education center working to 'empower Kansas City's underserved youth ages 6-18 through baseball, softball, and academic and social opportunities to be leaders of tomorrow'. Students are surrounded by mentors and role models who do more than just coach them in sports, but in life as well.
Gates BBQ is one of the most traditional BBQ joints in Kansas City, and in the states of Missouri and Kansas in general. This booming bbq business began in 1946 under the name of 'Gates Ol' Kentucky', opened by George W Gates, who thought that running a family owned and operated restaurant would be better than a life on the railroad. Over the years Gates has grown so much in popularity that stores stock the signature sauces and seasonings, and the likes of big names like former Presidents Bush and Clinton have dropped in for a visit. Try the slab, center cut, short end, long end, chicken, sausage, mutton, or a little bit of all of them on the mixed plate. Don't forget to pick up your signature sauce (sweet and mild, original, extra hot) on your way out, trust us, you're going to want it later!
Black Archives of Mid America
With a goal of to 'collect, preserve and make available to the public materials documenting the social, economic, political and cultural histories of persons of African American descent in the central United States' the Black Archives of Mid America is one of the most culturally enlightening places you can visit while in Kansas City. Check out the permanent exhibit 'With My Eyes No Longer Blind', named after the famous Langston Hughes poem, that covers the journey from the days of Lewis and Clark to the more recent mayorship of Emanuel Cleaver II.
Welcome to Kansas City's very own Union Station, the city's 'hub of culture, education, and entertainment.' This former train station stands as a giant in regional history, as well as a popular science learning center and accomplished entertainment venue. Within the massive doors of Union Station, you will find various permanent and traveling exhibits, an on-site planetarium, and even a science center. You will also find plenty of fun shops and eateries scattered throughout the sprawling station. During the WWII era, this spot saw over 1 million travelers, mostly soldiers, who were well taken care of with onsite restaurants, cigar shops, railroad offices, barber shops, and the biggest Railway Express station around.