Community moment: Ami Varney
Featured speaker: Deborah Barker, Archivist, Black Archives of Mid-America
The mission of the Black Archives of Mid-America in Kansas City, Inc. is to collect, preserve and make available to the public materials documenting the social, economic, political and cultural histories of persons of African American descent in the central United States, with particular emphasis in the Kansas City, Missouri, region. Black Archives of Mid-America is an educational resource and provides access to its collections for research, exhibition and publication to honor our community heritage and to catalyze public awareness.
Deborah Barker was born in Winfield, Kansas. Her father was a wholesale grower of tropical plants and her mother was an English professor at Southwestern College in Winfield. Deborah earned her B.A. from the University of Colorado in Boulder and her M.A. (with honors) from the University of Kansas at Lawrence, and did 60 more hours and taught art history there for several years. She ran the Franklin County (Kansas) Historical Society for 29 years before retiring to move to KC to help her daughter with her son, Langston. Deborah visited the Black Archives of Mid-America and realized they needed a lot of archival help, and signed on – as the only white person working there. She says she’s made a lot of progress but has much to go.