African American Experience

Black-and-white photograph of a crowded shop. Six boys and young men work on shoes: four stand and two sit on a bench.
A group of men and boys working at Counts Shoe Shop in Junction City, Kansas, 1915. Call Number: RH PH Pennell, Print 2807, Box 60.

The African American experience in Kansas and the region is a major area of focus, with the legacy of African American individuals, families, businesses, churches, and schools documented through substantial collections of correspondence, photographs, organizational, educational and business records, books, pamphlets and newspapers.

In 1985, with funding from the National Historical and Records Commission, the Kansas Collection embarked on an augmented collecting program to document the African American experience in Kansas.

Significant collections of personal and family papers, as well as records of organizations, churches and businesses, attesting to this rich heritage were acquired and made available for research. After three years of grant funding the program was made a permanent one and work continues to actively add significant primary sources in support of teaching and research.

Any faculty member, undergraduate, graduate student, or independent researcher whose work focuses on the African American experience can now apply for Spencer's Alyce Hunley Whayne Visiting Researcher/Scholar travel grant.

Kansas Collection Contacts

Phil Cunningham

Kansas Collection Curator


Deborah Dandridge

Field Archivist and Curator, African American Experience Collections