Black History

Of course, the black history of Columbia should be within all the history of Columbia, but often it isn’t.

Here is a list of some of the coverage of black history.

  • Here is the link to Black History Media Coverage.
  • Here is a link to a page about the 1923 lynching of James Scott. This 1923 event was the last public lynching in Columbia, Missouri.
  • Here is a link to a 1978 publication that covers the integration of Columbia’s Public Schools. The publication is “A History of Public School Education in Columbia,” by Roger A. Gafke.

Think something is missing? dobrien387 at

Media Coverage (Go here for more Black History media coverage)

May 18, 2015 Post – Black history comes to life

Black history will be the brought back to life on Tuesday, May 19, 2015 with the unveiling of a marker to highlight a place that once existed — Sharp End — will be highlighted. From 5:30 to 6:15 p.m., members of the Sharp End Heritage Commission and city and state officials will mark the unveiling of a historic marker.

This once vibrant entrepreneurial area filled with black-owned businesses including barber shops, restaurants, taverns and other firms filled the 500 block of East Walnut Street, now home to the Columbia Post Office and a city parking garage, according to this May 17, 2015 article by Rudi Keller in the Columbia Tribune.

Why is this important?

This site stems from a desire to save and reveal Columbia’s history. Once a person dies, his or her life story can fade. But when there’s a building, that story can be sometimes be found again. For example, few people know that an early woman journalist once lived in the house at 121 West Boulevard North — or that she’d nearly been given up to a wealthy Boonville, Missouri family.

That’s why Tuesday’s event is so important. It will bring back to life history and lives that can’t be highlighted through the buildings and homes, which are all now gone, except for a few notable exceptions, such as J.W. “Blind” Boone’s home, Second Baptist Church and St. Paul’s Church. The history of these buildings is highlighted in this National Register of Historic Places document.

Looking for more of Columbia’s black history? Here are several links:

Black History Lessons by Kevin Walsh, Inside Columbia, February 2015.

Interested in doing your own sleuthing on black history? I can’t wait to dig into this collection at the State Historic Society: Boone County Black Archives Collection. It includes information on the 1923 lynching.

Looking for a great read? Here’s a review of Gary Kremer’s recent book, “Race and Meaning.”

As for me, I’ll be at the event on Tuesday, when Columbia marks history that I’m grateful didn’t fade once the buildings were gone.

On May 19, 2015, a historical marker will be placed at Fifth and Sixth streets to recognize black business people, according to an article published in the Columbia Daily Tribune o April 5, 2015.

An organization, The Sharp End Heritage Committee, is documenting the development and destruction of Sharp End, the article notes, with oral history interviews. Those involved include Jim Whitt, chairman of the committee and Columbia Board of Education vice president, Vicki Russell, Columbia Tribune Publisher. Those collecting the oral history interviews are high school students Jimmy Whitt and Faramola Shonekan.

Sharp End project remembers historic site of black Columbia business district — This article by Rudi Keller in the Columbia Daily Tribune, April 5 2015, highlights the Sharp End neighborhood and its loss during urban renewal. See the entire article on line here:

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