It was 65 years ago on Aug. 11 that the first successful student sit-in resulted in the end of a segregation policy at the Dockum Drug Store lunch counter in downtown Wichita.
On Friday, Aug. 11, that historic day will be celebrated with a full afternoon and evening of activities at Finlay Ross Park, just east of Century II.
The city has donated that park to the NAACP, which is in the process of raising funds for a $2.2 million renovation that will tell the story of African Americans in Wichita, including providing a home for a sculpture that celebrates the sit-in.
The sculpture is the work of artist Georgia Gerber and was donated to the city by the Richard DeVore family. It has been in storage since the city began a renovation of its former home at Chester I. Lewis Park on Douglas Ave.
This commemorative event is being held in partnership with Humanities Kansas, Kansas Branches of NAACP, KMUW, and StoryCorps (as heard on public radio).
The community will be invited to tell their stories of faith, courage, struggle, and triumph over the past 65 years in 20-minute segments, facilitated by StoryCorps.
The StoryCorps interviews and commemorative mural painting begin at 2 p.m. and end at 8 p.m.
Opening ceremonies with Dockum participants sharing stories and the presentation of a City of Wichita proclamation for the Dockum sit-in will be at 2 p.m.
GMLV Architect and representatives from the NAACP will unveil the design for Black HIstory Park at 3 p.m.
People Pride & Promise read-aloud and book signing will be at 4 p.m., followed by a Community Conversations panel discussion at 5 p.m.
The evening will close with live music from 6:30 to 8 p.m.