A sold-out crowd gathered at Memorial Hall in Kansas City, KS on St., Feb. 18 for the 31st Annual Black History Celebration and Scholarship Banquet sponsored by the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, KS Black History Committee.  

This was the 31st year for this popular event, which returned after a hiatus forced by the COVID pandemic.  

This year, the event began with a social hour and vendors in the Memorial Hall lobby.  The event programming, based on the theme “Preserving Our History,” included a panel discussion moderated by former UG Assistant County Administrator, Gordon Criswell. Panelists included Amy Loch, Director of the Wyandotte County Museum; Randy Greeves, UG Historic Preservationist; and John & Sheleah McPherson, business owners of JLM Construction and Leah’s Laundromat on the Q.  This discussion provided guests with a diverse perspective on preserving African-American history and culture in Wyandotte County and Kansas City, KS. 

An annual focus of the event is awarding scholarships and honoring community leaders and businesses that exhibit cultural commitment, dedication and hard work.  This year the committee presented $1,500 scholarships to Donnelly College Board Chair, Jason Banks and Kansas City and Kansas Community College President Dr. Greg Moser.  The KCKCC recipient, Kalia London, was on hand to accept her scholarship.  

The committee honored youth entrepreneur Nelson McConnell, owner of Nelson’s Flavorades with the 2023 business leadership award and LaVeda Davis, founder of the Gateway Highsteppers with the community leadership award.

Other program contributors included 8-year-old Jerel D. McGeachy Jr. who recited and excerpt from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s speech “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” and Black History Committee members Brandy Wells and Krystel McFeders.  Wells recited an original poem “Don’t Let Me Go Stale”, and McFeders song the Negro National Anthem.  

Launched in 1982, the Unified Government Black History Committee is an employee-led, all-volunteer committee dedicated to hosting programming for Black History Month in Wyandotte County every year. In addition to raising thousands of dollars in scholarships for local students, the Committee has highlighted community efforts and entrepreneurship by black leaders from across the county.

For more information regarding the Black History Committee and ways to donate to the scholarship fund. Please visit www.wycokck.org/bhc.