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.