Designed by Johnson County Library staff and community partners.
Kansas City remains one of the most segregated cities in America, with a dividing line, Troost Avenue, running north and south through the heart of the city. KC Segregation Tours are a journey through the history of segregation in the Kansas City metro area, primarily through its real estate and some of its most recognized landmarks.
Race Project KC students experience these tours as one of their key events so that, by learning about the forces that have shaped their community, they are more fully equipped to weaken the unofficial boundaries that segregate us and can work to make us more united.
The tours journey through neighborhoods that are considered the crown jewels of the metropolitan area as well as neighborhoods that fell victim to redlining, blockbusting, and white flight. The guides explain how and why which neighborhoods became which. It is a complex story that continues to unfold today.
The tours are designed so that you can safely drive through the city at your own pace while hearing stories about each area you travel through. You can experience them one of three ways:
Download the PDF of the Story of Segregation Tour that Race Project KC students take as one of their key experiences. Driving Directions and Discussion Questions are included.
Download the Dividing Lines app on Android or iOS and be guided through the tour by an audio narration. The 90-minute drive includes interviews from several area students and notable city figures Sid Willens, Bill Tammeus, Mamie Hughes, and Margaret May.
View the Dividing Linesvirtual driving tour, an interactive, 360-degree video with narration, interviews, and supplemental material. Experience 90 minutes of views and history without leaving home.
By highlighting the history of segregation in Kansas City, Dividing Lines sheds light on the governmental policies and individual actions which decimated Black neighborhoods all over the United States. Each option tells a different version of the same story, emphasizing different facts and sights. It is not repetitive to enjoy them all.
The Truth About Troost - Made by Race Project KC students - "Troost is a place where people in Kansas City don't go, unless you live there. Tanner Colby, author of Some of My Best friends are Black, gives an in depth explanation why segregation in the housing industry in Kansas City has portrayed Troost as a dividing line between the middle class and poverty, white and black people, and what needs to be done to integrate communities not only surrounding Kansas City, but in other major cities what still deal with racial segregation."
Building the Troost Wall: Structural Racism in Kansas City - Featuring Nathaniel Bozarth, narrator of the Dividing Lines app tour - "For Challenge 6, 'Get Uncomfortable,' I decided to go to KC and eat at a fancy place on the Plaza (uncomfortable for me) and then walk with Nathaniel Bozarth to a place on Prospect Ave for a second meal (even more uncomfortable). Along the way we explore the making of the Troost Wall and the history of structural racism in KC."
Land of Opportunity - Kansas City PBS special telling the story of integration in the Santa Fe Place neighborhood as one example in the fight for housing rights across America following the Great Depression.
The Disturbing History of the Suburbs - An episode of the Adam Ruins Everything series that succinctly presents the history of redlining and discriminatory housing practices and how they created the segregated world we have today, including segregated schools.
Government Redlining - An introduction to the real estate and lending practices that led to the segregation of U.S. neighborhoods.