Coordinated by Johnson County Library, Race Project KCis an annual immersive racial justice initiative focused on the history of the United States. It’s designed for students, grades 9 through 12, in the Kansas City metropolitan area. The principal text is Some of My Best Friends are Black - The Strange Story of Integration in America by author Tanner Colby. In this book,the author weaves his personal truths into the history of integration in America since the Civil Rights Movement. Divided into four parts, the book examines the author's own schools in Birmingham, Alabama, neighborhoods in Kansas City, the workplace, and churches. It then ties these observations to the national experience of growing up in a "post-racial" USA. While Some of My Best Friends Are Black is the principal text, other fictional and nonfictional accounts of history are also included. Johnson County Library:
coordinates monthly events September through April for a student cohort made up of three area High Schools.
hosts an annual multi-school Segregation Bus Tour in April of each year.
schedules individual Segregation Bus Tours for students or educators per our Civic Engagement committee’s availability.
Objective To offer a serious investigation into the history of racial politics in Kansas City , Johnson County, and its schools and how these issues affect us today.
Action We accomplish this goal by offering multiple opportunities for dialogues between students from different parts of the metro area.
Vision To empower students and teachers with the tools to understand our city and its peoples’ past, critique the present, and build for a better future through dialogue and critical literacy. Students are active participants in their schools and communities, not just passive observers.
Impact This project supports the development of a more socially just view of America.
Original Objectives written by Tim Stauffer, English teacher at Wyandotte High School in Kansas City, KS.