And I want you to get on the same bandwagon I’m on — working to get black history included in our upcoming 2021 bicentennial celebration of Columbia, Missouri.
In fact, I don’t just want you to get involved, I need you to get involved because a lot of history, black and otherwise, hasn’t made the history books. Or any books.
When Brent Gardner, chair of the Mayor’s Task Force on Bicentennial Celebration Planning, kicked off the group’s work, the first thing he did was outline the goals of the group. And the first goal was to be inclusive. (Insert my joyous YES! here.)
This is where you come in. Do you know someone who hasn’t made the history books? Perhaps a person of color who made history but hasn’t gotten the media or history coverage he or she deserves? Maybe a woman? We all know J.W. “Blind” Boone. Some of us know who Ann Hawkins Gentry is. But who were the people who immigrated here during the various waves of new citizens? A friend of mine lives in a house once owned by Hungarian immigrants. What is their story?
This is where you come in
I’m a member of the CoMo200 History Working Group and our charge is to develop a list of people who should be lauded.
Our group meets the third Tuesday of the month in City Hall. This month its March 19. The meeting is open to anyone who wants to help.
Can’t attend but still have ideas or names of people who have been missed in the mainstream narrative? Send them to me. Leave a comment. Send a smoke signal. We need your input because we it’s all of our history, not just those who made the first few rounds of the official narrative.
Yes, I’m obnoxious.
Some might say I’m persistent. Either way, I’m OK with that since it’s for a good cause and I’ve gotten results. What’s the cause and what has been the results?
Everywhere I go, I tell people I’m looking for those who are missing from history so they can be recognized in the upcoming 2021 Columbia bicentennial celebration.
Everywhere. Like when I attended an event for the Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture founded by Adam Saunders, Dan Soetaert and Bobby Johnson. While chatting with Saunders, I mentioned my mission. The center helps people garden within the city and also donates significant amounts of produce to the local food pantry.
Then Feb. 26, 2019, an article written by Billy Polansky of Urban Ag was published in the Columbia Daily Tribune. Coincidence or results? Who cares. I now know about one more person who belongs in our history, but might have been missed.
Maybe you missed it, too.
Here’s a link to an article about Henry Kirklin. In case you don’t want to click to the article, Kirklin was born in 1858 as a Boone County slave, and freed when he was 5. He went on to found his own business selling fruits, vegetables and plant starts. He also taught at MU’s horticulture department, even though because of the laws at the time, he couldn’t go inside any of the university buildings. Instead, he taught white students about pruning and propagation outside.
Kirklin has a page at the State Historical Society of Missouri.
But how many other people have we missed? I have missed out on knowing about?
Tell me. I want to learn about the people who didn’t make the history books, the people that surprise us. That’s what I want to be the lasting mark of our city’s 2021 bicentennial.
Tell me, who’s missing from our history?