Life of former slave to be recognized with a Stopping Stone

Westport Historical Society and 1855 Harris-Kearney House Museum News Release

Contact Alana Smith, the Westport Historical Society and the 1855 Harris-Kearney House
Sophia Babbitt, Program Manager
(802) 923-1514

Life of former slave to be recognized with a Stopping Stone

Stopping Stones arts initiative is partnering with the Westport Historical Society to recognize and celebrate a formerly enslaved African-American woman, Harriet “Hattie” Drisdom Kearney.

Hattie was 9-years-old when auctioned and purchased by Col. Charles E. Kearney for $1,300. Hattie lived the rest of her life, long after emancipation, with the Kearney family in Kansas City and is buried in the family plot at Union Cemetery.

Surrounding the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) annual conference in KC, Stopping Stones will install a hand-stamped, brass plaque honoring Hattie on Thursday, September 27, 2018 at 5:30 p.m.

Hattie’s Stopping Stone will be placed in the front walkway of the Harris-Kearney House, 4000 Baltimore Avenue, Kansas City, Mo. During the installation ceremony participants will honor Hattie’s sacrifices, tell her story, note the historical context of her time, and catalyze the audience to take action within the local community.

“It is so exciting for Stopping Stones to partner with the Westport Historical Society and the 1855 Harris-Kearney House! They have done a phenomenal job preserving Hattie’s room and documenting her narrative. We look forward to memorializing her and sharing this experience with as many people from Kansas City as possible. I am so happy that the story of a cherished Kansas City resident is being told and shared widely.” said Alexandria Harris, Stopping Stones Managing Executive Director.

There are few, precisely documented locations where specific slaves once toiled in and around Kansas City.

Stopping Stones may continue to work with local historians to place similar memorial plaques at other known locations.

The Rice-Tremonti Home in Raytown preserves “Aunt Sophie’s Cabin,” and there are a couple of documented sites in Independence where specific African-American slaves once lived and/or worked. Stopping Stones welcomes any historical information from the public in this pursuit.

Stopping Stones has also partnered with other local organizations such as the Midwest Afro-American Genealogical Interest Coalition (MAGIC) and Black Archives of Mid-America, representatives from each of which will present at the ceremony; a reception follows.

City officials are also expected to attend.

Stopping Stones creates historical reparations through a multi-pronged strategy that addresses the traumatic and avoided history of American slavery. They seek to transform our country by catalyzing individuals to take practical, measurable steps to eliminate the negative effects of slavery that still impact the descendants of those who were enslaved.

For more information or to RSVP contact Alana Smith, the Westport Historical Socity and the 1855 Harris-Kearney House. wesporthistorical@gmail.com or Sophia Babbitt, Program Manager, sophia@stoppingstones.org, (802) 923-1514.

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