Kansas City Missouri 18th and Vine District

18th & Vine Historic District

Before the Civil War in 1860, the population of Kansas City was 4,418, which included 190 enslaved residents. Once freed, blacks were forced into segregated areas in the city. Between 1860 and 1870 many former slaves came to the city looking for work in manufacturing and the black population increased to 3,770. During 1880-1890, the population of Kansas City doubled from 55,785 to 132,716. This population boom also increased the black population to 10 percent of the total population in the city.

From the 1860s to the 1890s African Americans settled in the West Bottoms, the North End, and The Bowery. Most of these areas were residential with a few businesses scattered around in the area. During the 1880s and 1890s, the development of the 18th and Vine district started to take shape. This district housed working and middle-class African Americans. It was also home to a number of prominent black attorneys, physicians, and teachers, along with many shop owners. The area became a focal point for not only African American civic life and educational opportunities, but also provided space for the development of black owned businesses.

The story surrounding the 18th and Vine area is one that shows the resilience of people. The citizens in the 18th and Vine district created a thriving community. Lawyers who fought and won national civil rights cases took office space here and black business owners made their name not only in Kansas City, but around the nation. One of the best Jazz scenes developed in the 18th and Vine area that would rival the likes of New Orleans and the Negro National League was established in the area in 1920 . The African Americans who fought for civil rights and empowered a community, were more than activists, they were leaders. They served their community in order to push for progress and lift each other up. This tour will bring to life many of these leaders and describe the community they created. The leaders told their community yes, they could, during a time when they were told, no, they could not.



18th and Vine Streets, Kansas City, MO, 64106 ~ Neighborhood district along street intersection