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.
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 two 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 new 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.
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 on 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."
Government Redlining - An introduction to the real estate and lending practices that led to the segregation of U.S. neighborhoods.
In the twentieth century, Kansas City produced two uniquely American geniuses who would both forever alter the physical and cultural landscape of the country. One of these men built a magic kingdom, a fantasy world that offered nonstop, wholesome family fun and a complete escape from reality. The other one moved to Hollywood and opened a theme park. . . . In the South, Jim Crow was just the law. In Kansas City, [real estate developer] J.C. Nichols turned it into a product. Then he packaged it, commodified it, and sold it. Whiteness was no longer just an inflated social status. Now it was worth cash money. . . . Between 1908 and 1948, racial covenants were used to exclude [blacks] from 62 percent of all new housing developments in Jackson County, Missouri (home of Kansas City proper). During that same period, racial covenants had excluded them from 96 percent of all new housing developments in Johnson County, Kansas. And between 1934 and 1962, the Federal Housing Authority backed mortgages for more than 77,000 homes in the Kansas City area; less than 1 percent of those loans went to blacks. ~Tanner Colby, Some of My Best Friends Are Black
KC Events - The REI KC calendar of community events pertaining to race issues.
We Are Wyandotte - Home of the H.E.A.T. Report that uncovers health inequities based on place of residence in Wyandotte County, with connections to historical redlining practices, a video series, related comics, and more.
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art School Tours - "School tours are interactive gallery experiences led by skilled docents offering learner-centered activities and open-ended discussion inspired by works of art. School tours are designed for students from preschool through college."
How Red Lines Built White Wealth: A Lesson on Housing Segregation in the 20th Century - Teaching Activity. By Ursula Wolfe-Rocca. The mixer role play is based on Richard Rothstein’s The Color of Law, which shows in exacting detail how government policies segregated every major city in the United States with dire consequences for African Americans. From the Zinn Education Project, which "promotes and supports the teaching of people’s history in classrooms across the country. For more than ten years, it has introduced students to a more accurate, complex, and engaging understanding of history than is found in traditional textbooks and curricula. The website offers free, downloadable lessons and articles organized by theme, time period, and grade level. Based on the approach to history highlighted in Howard Zinn’s best-selling book A People’s History of the United States, their teaching materials emphasize the role of working people, women, people of color, and organized social movements in shaping history."
Teaching Tolerance - "Teaching Tolerance provides free resources to educators—teachers, administrators, counselors and other practitioners—who work with children from kindergarten through high school. Educators use the materials to supplement the curriculum, to inform their practices, and to create civil and inclusive school communities where children are respected, valued and welcome participants. The program emphasizes social justice and anti-bias. The anti-bias approach encourages children and young people to challenge prejudice and learn how to be agents of change in their own lives. Their Social Justice Standards show how anti-bias education works through the four domains of identity, diversity, justice and action."