Junius Groves Farm: Born enslaved in Kentucky, Junius Groves became a successful businessman in Kansas during the early part of the 20th century. Known as the “Potato King of the World” Groves owned a 1,000-acre farm near Edwardsville in Wyandotte County, Kansas. As a self-educated farmer Groves, with the help of his wife and twelve children, produced, bought, and shipped potatoes as well fruits and vegetables to all parts of the world. In addition to the farm, Groves’ business interests included a general store, stockholder in major corporations and being a major employer of Blacks. He cofounded organizations such as the State Negro Business League, Kaw Valley Potato Association and the Sunflower State Agricultural Association. In 1915, his holdings were worth over $300,000, in 2012 that would be worth more than $6 Million. Groves built three mansions, and all of them burned down. The 22 room mansion was the last to fall in 1968.
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Kansas Black History Facts were compiled for The Community Voice by Donna Rae Pearson.