Sharing America | KCUR

Sharing America

Shannon Lockwood / Courtesy of Emily Brown

Emily Brown runs a nonprofit in the Kansas City area. She is a black woman who wears her hair naturally. In 2016, she was invited to speak at a national conference, but one of the board members pulled her aside.

"'You know, I think you’re smart,'" Brown told the story recently on KCUR's Central Standard. "'But I’m concerned, you know, that people in the room may not fully hear you because of your hair. You should consider straightening your hair, you know, before you take this trip.'"

BigStock Images

The Missouri Attorney General's 2018 report on traffic stops shows black drivers were even more likely to be stopped than white drivers compared to the year prior. Statewide in 2018, blacks were 91% more likely than whites to be stopped by law enforcement. That's based on the driving-age population of both groups in the 2010 census. For 2017, the figure was 85%.

In relation to the entire population of Missouri, blacks were stopped at a rate of 76% in 2018 compared to 72% in 2017.

Michelle Tyrene Johnson / KCUR 89.3

Setting children up for academic success is Annie Watson’s driving passion.

The Kansas City, Missouri, native is the director of early education and parent success at Turn the Page KC, a non-profit that aims to have all children reading at grade level by third grade.

Reporting On Race

Mar 13, 2019

With racial tensions on the rise in recent years, what's it like to be a reporter of color tasked with witnessing events, mediating tricky conversations, and making those stories understandable? In this discussion, we visit with three journalists covering race and culture both locally and nationwide.

Courtesy of William Bird

Chester Owens Jr. remembers bucking the laws of Jim Crow that said a black man had no right to eat where and when he wanted.

In 1952, one of those places was a restaurant at Kresge's department store on Minnesota Avenue in Kansas City, Kansas.

Michelle Tyrene Johnson / KCUR 89.3

This story is KCUR's contribution to a collaborative reporting project from Sharing America called Fixed Odds, exploring the impact of problem gambling on communities of color and the extent to which states provide money for treatment.

Tribal casinos receive a lot of attention. What doesn’t receive as much attention is the higher incidence of problem gambling among Native Americans compared to the rest of the population.

Missouri Valley Special Collections / Kansas City Public Library

Lincoln Cemetery. Western Baptist Bible College. Wheatley-Provident Hospital.

Compared to the 18th and Vine area, these are among the little-known locations important to Kansas City’s African American history. But they may be better known by summer.

They are among some of the more 130 suggested sites for the proposed African American Heritage Trail. The trail will have a map, an interactive website and informational markers at the sites.

Michelle Tyrene Johnson / KCUR 89.3

Art is inextricably tied to culture.

Whether it's the imagery of visual artists or the narrative themes of writers, race and culture influence the artists and the art.

Members of a two-year-old Kansas City group called the Artists of Color Alliance understand this.

Michelle Tyrene Johnson / KCUR 89.3

 

Sam Shockley went to school with the black students who eventually desegregated Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. So he was more than familiar with the harshness of racism.

When he moved to Kansas City in the 1950s, he experienced a different brand of it.

“Here it was more covert,” Shockley says.

The Arch grounds reopening is happening again after photos of the initial ribbon-cutting on Tuesday showed a lack of racial diversity.

As the common saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. The photos showing city officials and guests cutting the ribbon at the ceremony organized by Gateway Arch Park Foundation were worth three: “Arch So White,” or #ArchSoWhite on social media.

One out of five Americans is a woman of color. So, why are their perspectives often overlooked, even in conversations about race and gender? KCUR's Michelle Tyrene Johnson hosts an unfiltered, wide-ranging discussion about life in Kansas City for women of color.

Guests:

Starbucks stores across the country will be closed on Tuesday afternoon. The company announced it would use the half day to “conduct racial-bias education geared toward preventing discrimination in our stores.”

Starbucks announced the move in April after video of police arresting two black men at a Philadelphia location went viral. An employee had called police because the men, who were waiting for someone, had not ordered anything and were refusing to leave. One of the pair had asked to the use the restroom.

Stilwell, Kansas, is an unlikely place to find a Muslim Quran reciter who has over a million followers each on both Instagram and Facebook.

But for now, that's where you can find Fatih Seferagic.

When Seferagic was just four years old, his family fled war-torn Bosnia. He eventually ended up in Houston, Texas, when he was 14 years old and that’s when he gained a following after putting his Quran recitations up on YouTube.

Courtesy of Hallmark Cards

Elle McKinney has seen the Black Panther movie nine times and taken all seven of her nephews — in shifts — to see the mega-hit since it came out in February.

So, lucky for McKinney, who is black, that her job as a greeting card writer at Hallmark Cards allowed her to be a writer on the creative team for the launch of Black Panther cards.

Michelle Tyrene Johnson / KCUR 89.3

This spring marks 25 years since 23rd Street in the Westside neighborhood of Kansas City, Missouri, was named after civil rights leader Cesar Chavez.

The efforts the community went through echo the current attempt by a coalition of black leaders to rename Paseo Boulevard after Martin Luther King Jr.

Michelle Tyrene Johnson / KCUR 89.3

The next U.S. census will happen in 2020, and it promises to reveal shifting demographics and changing communities. One neighborhood to watch is Strawberry Hill, a vibrant Kansas City, Kansas community that has long been home to immigrants from around the globe. 

Bigstock

When many black diners go out to eat, it’s not uncommon for them to question if race plays a part in the service they receive.

Turns out, that’s not paranoia.

Zach Brewster is an assistant professor of sociology at Wayne State University in Michigan. He has conducted several national research studies on the experience of dining and restaurant discrimination. In his 2015 survey of approximately 1,000 waiters and waitresses across the country, 53 percent of the participants admitted to not giving black diners their best service.

David Kovaluk, St. Louis Public Radio

Talking about race and culture is hard for a lot of Kansas Citians. It’s hard everywhere in the United States where people from different backgrounds share space and resources. But when we dig into stories about our identities and how they affect our families, our politics, arts and health – it’s hard not to recognize that race, culture and identity is a central force in our lives, and deserves special attention in our news coverage.

Micelle Tyrene Johnson / KCUR 89.3

For decades, the Wonder Hostess Thrift Shop Bakery was an institution at 30th and Troost in Midtown Kansas City. People in the neighborhood remember it from as far back as the 1970s, when it was a quick and cheap place to stop by for day-old bread and discounted baked goods.

It closed about six years ago, and a new player has taken over in that location. People can still buy food there, but it’s a far cry from the processed HoHos and Zingers they used to get from Hostess.