Each year, The Kansas African American museum inductees a new class of honors into their Trailblazers Hall of Fame. Each year the list of honorees is impressive, and this year is no exception.
Selected for their perseverance and achievement are:
Education Trailblazer Dr. Alicia Thompson, Superintendent of Schools, USD 259;
Performing Arts Trailblazer Karla Burns, world famous opera singer and actress.
Posthumous Trailblazer Elisha Scott, Sr., lawyer and civil rights activist.
The honorees will be inducted during the Trailblazers Gala on Sat., Oct. 6, at the Hyatt Regency, Wichita, 400 W. Waterman, Wichita. The evening begins with a reception at 6 p.m. Dinner, the program and raffle begins at 7 p.m. In addition to the honoree ceremony, guests will enjoy a keynote presentation by Brian Black, Senior Manager of Oklahoma Human Resources, Spirit AeroSystems.
Tickets to the dinner are $100. For tickets, contact the museum at (316) 262-7651.
About the Honorees:
Dr. Alicia Thompson
A Wichita native, Thompson is a longtime teacher who has risen through the education system over a 25-year career to become school superintendent of her hometown, which happens to be Kansas’ largest school district. She is the first woman and first African American to lead the school district. She has gained the respect and admiration of the community for her work ethic and family and community focus.
Born and raised in Wichita, Burns absorbed her father’s jazz and gospel piano playing and her mother’s singing of spirituals and old hymns. She earned degrees in music education and musical theater from Wichita State University, and became an internationally recognized musical theater performer for her work in productions of Show Boat, Porgy and Bess and her one-woman show Hi-Hat Hattie, about fellow Wichita native and trailblazing actress Hattie McDaniel. She’s won the Olivier Award and Drama Desk Award, and been nominated for a Tony Award.
Elisha Scott Sr.
Scott was the third African American to graduate from Washburn University Law School (Class of 1916). He argued many civil rights and school segregation cases throughout the Midwest, provided legal help for the victims of the 1921 Tulsa race riot, and represented families in early discrimination cases, some of which gained entrance for black students in schools. His sons joined his law firm and would later provide early local-level prosecution in Brown v. Topeka Board of Education.