KCK native leads effort to raise funds Aug. 17 for new roof on Quindaro museum

Producer Joe Macklin says he wants his son, Micah Macklin, to know the history of the Quindaro area of Kansas City, Kansas. That’s why he is leading an effort to raise funds for the Old Quindaro Museum at 3432 N. 29th St., Kansas City, Kansas. The museum needs a new roof. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)
The Old Quindaro Museum, 3432 N. 29th St., Kansas City, Kansas, is raising funds for a new roof. (Staff photo)

by Mary Rupert

Joe Macklin recently toured the Old Quindaro Museum at 3432 N. 29th St., Kansas City, Kansas, and wondered why he hadn’t heard about local black history while he was growing up in Wyandotte County.

Macklin, a Grammy-nominated producer whose performing name is Jo Blaq, wants his young son and other youth to know the story of the early days of Quindaro, the people who figured in the town’s history and the legacy of the Underground Railroad here.

“We don’t know about our own history,” Macklin said. For his son and other young people, “I want them to know their history.”

A sign at the Old Quindaro Museum. Appointments are necessary to tour the museum at the current time. (Staff photo)

Quindaro, a pre-Civil War town on the Missouri River, was settled by Wyandot Indians, abolitionists, and African-Americans, and it’s important to learn about those who paved the way for today’s residents, he said.

A display at the Old Quindaro Museum details the Wyandot Nation and abolitionist history of the town. Anthony Hope, museum director, discussed the early history of the town. (Staff photo)

Quindaro was named after Quindaro Nancy Brown Guthrie, a member of the Wyandot Nation who married Abelard Guthrie, the founder of the town. Quindaro translates into “bundle of sticks,” which means “in unity there is strength.” In the past 50 years information has come to light about Quindaro’s role as a stop on the Underground Railroad.

One of the translations of Quindaro is “strength through unity.” (Staff photo)

When Macklin toured the museum, he said he learned a lot about local history.

“The thing that moved me most was some chains that slaves wore,” he said. “It made them hold their heads down. It moved me.”

Also, he said he was surprised to see a picture of one of his mentors, a captain in the Fire Department, in the museum.

A room in the Old Quindaro Museum is dedicated to black firefighters in Kansas City, Kansas. (Staff photo)

The Old Quindaro Museum currently needs a new roof in the worst way. In some areas, daylight can be seen through the roof. Inside the museum are artifacts and photos that tell the story of the early settlers of Quindaro, who included African-Americans, abolitionists and Wyandot Indians in the pre-Civil War era.

Producer Joe Macklin recently viewed places in the roof where work is needed. A fundraiser for a new roof will be held at 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 17, at Harrah’s Casino, North Kansas City, Missouri. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)

Macklin is producing a fundraiser show that will raise funds for the roof at 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 17, at the Voo-Doo Lounge at Harrah’s Casino, North Kansas City, Missouri. The Old Quindaro Museum will receive part of the proceeds from the show.

They have raised about $1,000 to start, Macklin said, with a goal of reaching about $3,000.

Macklin was introduced to Anthony Hope, the museum’s director, by Kathy Hanis of EPlus, a public relations firm. Hanis believes the story of old Quindaro needs to be told, and that Joe Macklin was someone who could help tell it and help the museum survive.

Volunteers continue a labor of love

On the grounds of the Old Quindaro Museum. (Staff photo)

The Old Quindaro Museum, the only African-American museum in Wyandotte County, has been a labor of love for Anthony Hope and his late brother, Jesse Hope. Both have given a considerable amount of time to starting the museum and keeping it running.

In existence about 12 years, it was Jesse Hope’s dream, and Anthony Hope stepped up after his brother’s death to continue the museum. The Concerned Citizens for Old Quindaro, a not-for-profit, is the sponsor of the museum.

Anthony Hope pays the museum’s light bill out of his own pocket, which he says has been a strain at times. Still, he continues volunteering there, leading tours and mowing the lawn.

The city purchased the building for the museum, and after that, there has not been city funding, according to the volunteers.

The museum’s collection includes photos of early-day settlers of Quindaro and prominent residents of the area through the years.

A Western University wall is devoted to the history of the black college established in Quindaro in 1865 and continued through 1943.

Photos of Western University are displayed at the Old Quindaro Museum. (Staff photo)

Touring Old Quindaro

Anthony Hope and Corranzo Lewis give tours of the museum and the old Quindaro area by appointment, for a donation of $10.

The ruins of an old Quindaro brewery building are on a tour given by Anthony Hope. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)
A spider’s web greeted visitors to the old brewery building. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)

On the tour, visitors can see the museum, and then travel down Happy Hollow Road to view a partly ruined brewery building that was on the Underground Railroad.

Graves in the old Quindaro Cemetery date to the 1800s. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)

Then they may visit the old Quindaro Cemetery, high on a hill, where there is a view of the Missouri River.

One of the oldest homes in the area is Quindaro Nancy Brown’s home. (Staff photo)
The Quindaro Overlook provides visitors with a way to see the port area of Quindaro near the Missouri River. (Staff photo)

Hope and Lewis also will tell visitors about the oldest home in the area, Quindaro Nancy Brown’s home, and visitors may go to the Quindaro Overlook to view the old port and the Missouri River.

Also on the Quindaro tour is the John Brown statue at 29th and Sewell. (Staff photo)

The John Brown statue at 29th and Sewell also is on the tour. Erected in 1911, it is the oldest statue known of John Brown.

More fundraiser details

Performers at the show on Aug. 17 at Harrah’s Casino in North Kansas City, Missouri, will include Jo Blaq, host and artist; NowDaze; Kevin Chuch Boii Johnson; Kemet The Phantom; Mae C; and Eddie Moore.

For more information about the Old Quindaro Museum and ticket information for the fundraiser, visit https://www.facebook.com/ccoqmuseum/ or call
816-820-3615.

To reach Mary Rupert, editor, email maryr@wyandottedaily.com.

4 thoughts on “KCK native leads effort to raise funds Aug. 17 for new roof on Quindaro museum”

  1. Thank you Mary. Your support is greatly appreciated. What a beautiful story about the Old Quindaro Museum. Quindaro was the beginning of Kansas City, Kansas, and is a Wyandot Indian word meaning a bundle of sticks and interpreted as “in union there is strength.” When everyone works together it is amazing what we can achieve.

  2. I wish the venue for this fundraiser was the Gem Theater where they have comfortable seats. Some of us older folks can’t stand for long periods. I support this cause, though, and would be happy to donate to a fund for the Old Quindaro Museum in memory of my dear departed friend, Jesse Hope.

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