7/23/2018

Quindaro Site Moves One Step Closer To National Recognition

Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area News Release

Contact:, Jim Ogle, Executive Director
(785) 856-3635
jogle@freedomsfrontier.org

Julie McPike
Managing Director
(785) 856-5283
jmcpike@freedomsfrontier.org

Sonia J. Smith
Communications and Marketing Manager
(785) 856-5304
ssmith@freedomsfrontier.org


Quindaro Site Moves One Step Closer To National Recognition


For decades, community and interest groups have proposed various ideas about what to do to preserve the Quindaro Townsite in Kansas City, Kansas. Now, the House of Representatives has voted to approve National Commemorative Site Status for Quindaro. H.R. 5613: Quindaro Townsite National Commemorative Site Act, sponsored by Kevin Yoder (R), Kansas 3rd congressional district. H.R. 5613 will now move on to the Senate.

“Today, the House of Representatives has an opportunity to grant long overdue recognition to a historic site in Kansas City, Kansas that has its roots in our nation’s struggle for freedom and equality," Representative Yoder said.

"The Quindaro Townsite National Commemorative Site Act is my bill to confer an important new designation to a piece of history that has unfortunately been overlooked on the federal level for far too long. Many local stakeholders have worked hard for decades to preserve Quindaro. Now, we have an opportunity to bring meaningful federal support to those who have dedicated their lives to this effort. National Commemorative Site designation will be a crucial step toward spreading the story of Quindaro beyond the city limits of Kansas City to people around the nation. Quindaro’s legacy – of people who were willing to lay down their lives in the name of freedom – is the legacy of America. By preserving what remains of this town, we take a small but meaningful step toward preserving every good and noble thing that our great nation stands for,” said Yoder.

The town of Quindaro was founded in 1857 as a safe haven for anti-slavery activists and an important stop on the Underground Railroad. Representative Yoder’s bill, H.R. 5613 the Quindaro Townsite National Commemorative Site Act, would make Quindaro a National Commemorative Site, bringing new opportunities for investment and preservation of the site. The bill has five bipartisan cosponsors: the lead Democratic cosponsor, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, II (D-MO-5), Rep. Wm. Lacy Clay (D-MO-1), Rep. Roger Marshall (R-KS-1), Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS-2), and Rep. Ron Estes (R-KS-4). Once passed by the House, H.R. 5613 will be considered by the Senate, where Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) is sponsoring a companion bill.

Once the bill passes the Senate, Quindaro will become one of a handful of National Commemorative Sites. This new designation recognizes the national significance of the site, and will help elevate and preserve the townsite. Earlier this year the Landmark for Peace Memorial in Indianapolis, Indiana, was designated as the Kennedy-King National Commemorative Site.

The Quindaro Townsite is owned by the Unified Government, and Western University. Both have worked with Freedom's Frontier and other community stakeholders to elevate the status of Quindaro and:

turn the local significance of the Quindaro neighborhood to national significance.
increase the scope of historical content.
create more visibility for Quindaro and the surrounding region.
increase funding opportunities for preservation of Quindaro.


In May 2017, Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area and the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas, applied for a grant from the State Historic Preservation Office to hire a consultant to work toward elevating the Quindaro Townsite to National Historic Landmark status. The grant request was approved. The Unified Government was awarded a $20,000 grant. Freedom's Frontier, the grant administrator, hired Rosin Preservation as the project consultant to oversee the National Historic Landmark application process. This process is ongoing.

Other efforts to preserve Quindaro history were also underway. Humanities Kansas provided an $8,000 grant to Freedom's Frontier to hire a Special Projects Coordinator. Kelly Burns planned the Quindaro symposium. It was at the symposium, held April 19-21, 2018, that Rep. Yoder announced that he would be introducing legislation to designate the Quindaro townsite as a National Historic Landmark.

The symposium, Strength Through Numbers: the Intersection of Abolitionist Politics, Freed Blacks, and a Flourishing Community in Quindaro, featured academic scholars presenting papers on aspects of Quindaro history. The keynote address at the Kansas City Public Library's Central Library in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, delivered by Dr. Quintard Taylor, drew a crowd of more than 450 people. Each of the two days of presentations at Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kansas, was attended by about 150 people.

The Kansas City, Kansas Public Library also received grant funding from Humanities Kansas. The library's Oral History Project collected oral history interviews from 42 people in sessions that started in 2017, and included interviews conducted during the symposium. The library also received a Freedom's Frontier Interpretive Grant to scan documents and photos from the Kansas Room Collection. This grant is helping to preserve documents relating to the Wyandot Nation of Kansas. The Wyandots have ties to Quindaro. The tribe once owned the land where Quindaro was established.


About Freedom's Frontier
Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area has more than 200 partner sites in eastern Kansas and western Missouri. More than 150 of those partner organization have historic forts and battlefields; historic houses; museums and archives; artifacts and documents; parks and nature trails. Other partners are convention visitor and tourism bureaus. All of the partners help to present stories of the shaping of the frontier, the Missouri-Kansas Border War and the enduring struggle for freedom.

Learn more about all of the sites by visiting www.freedomsfrontier.org, and clicking on "Places to See". There is also a historic timeline, and an events calendar. Visitors to the website can request a map online, or send an email to information@freedomsfrontier.org.

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About Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area
Location: 41 counties in Eastern Kansas and Western Missouri

Area: 31,021 square miles, approximately the size of South Carolina

Population: 2,883,526 (2017 estimate)

Established: October 12, 2006

Counties involved
Kansas – Allen, Anderson, Atchison, Bourbon, Chautauqua, Cherokee, Clay, Coffey, Crawford, Douglas, Franklin, Geary, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Labette, Leavenworth, Linn, Miami, Montgomery, Neosho, Osage, Pottawatomie, Riley, Shawnee, Wabaunsee, Wilson, Woodson, Wyandotte

Missouri – Barton, Bates, Buchanan, Cass, Clay, Jackson, Johnson, Lafayette, Platte, Ray, St. Clair, Vernon

Website: www.freedomsfrontier.org

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