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Awesome Cultural and Unity Day

The Awesome girls went on a tour of Quindaro, Kansas which is full of rich history. The girls stopped by Old Quindaro Museum and was led on a tour by Anthony Hope and Kristen Zane. Mr. Hope’s family dates back to the first settlers of Quindaro and Ms. Zane, a member of Wyandot Nation of Kansas is also a descendent of the first settlers of Quindaro.

The Old Quindaro Museum, “The only African American Museum in Wyandotte County,” is set inside the home of John Walker, a former caretaker of Western University. Next, the girls toured the Quindaro Ruins overlook where they learned enslaved blacks would walk across the Missouri River into Kansas to find freedom in Quindaro. They then stopped by Quindaro cemetery, where many of Mr. Hope’s ancestors have found their final resting place.

The next stop was the Harris Kearney House Museum which was a stop on the Santa Fe Trail. Our tour guides Margueritte Milliken and David Jackson, told us the history of home which at one time was a headquarters for the Union Army.

While eating lunch at La Fonda El Tequito, we were hosted by Maria Medina-Chaurand, who with her siblings own the restaurant. Her parents started in the restaurant business over 40 years ago. Her mother is from Kansas City and her father is originally from Mexico City where he played soccer professionally for Mexico’s national team. After his soccer career he moved to Kansas City and worked at Swift and Company Packing House. At 65 years old, he went into the restaurant business and opened up an Italian bar in 1977 which eventually evolved into their current Mexican restaurant.

We were also joined at lunch by Anna Hernandez, who with her husband, own the radio station La Mega on 1160 am. She discussed moving from Mexico to the United States as a teenager and the challenges she faced. She also enjoys intertwining her heritage with traditional American culture such as celebrating Thanksgiving with Mexican food instead of turkey.

After lunch we then went on a Kansas City Black History tour lead by Erik Stafford who runs Kansas City Tour Company. It was fact filled tour which covered a wide range of information. A few highlights include, history about York, a black man who accompanied Lewis and Clark on their expedition as a scout. He told us, Kansas City was where Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie met for the first time. He also discussed the Black Exodus, or the Exodus of 1879. On the tour we stopped by the Rector House, a house owned by Sarah Rector, also known as, “The Richest Colored Girl in the World.” We then visited Lincoln College Preparatory Academy, also known as “The Castle on the Hill,” which at one time was the only school for blacks in the region. Lincoln’s notable alumni include, Charlie Parker, Lucile Bluford, and Ollie Gates.

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