This Kansas Black History Fact is brought to you by The Community Voice Kansas’ African-American newspaper. Click to read the current fact-filled and informative issue.
Western University (Kansas) (1865–1943) was a historically Black University (HBCU) established as Quindaro Freedman’s School at Quindaro, Kansas after the Civil War. It was the earliest school for African Americans west of the Mississippi River. In the first three decades of the 20th Century, it had one of the best music schools in the nation. Among its most famous alumni were several women who were influential music pioneers in the early 20th century, including Eva Jessye who created her own choir and collaborated with major artists such as Virgil Thompson and George Gershwin in New York City.
The university was later expanded to include additional departments. The university served African Americans for several generations but was weakened financially during the Great Depression and closed in 1943. None of its buildings are still standing.
Kansas Black History Facts are compiled for The Community Voice by Donna Rae Pearson.