Monday, December 21, 2020

Kansas City Star, Negroe Leagues Recognition And $2.00 Will Get You A Large Coffee At QT...,

kansascity  |  Today The Star presents a six-part package. It is the result of a team of reporters who dug deeply into the archives of The Star and what was once its sister paper, The Kansas City Times. They pored over thousands of pages of digitized and microfilmed stories, comparing the coverage to how those same events were covered in the Black press — most notably by The Kansas City Call and The Kansas City Sun, each of which chronicled critical stories the white dailies ignored or gave short shrift.

Our reporters searched court documents, archival collections, congressional testimony, minutes of meetings and digital databases. Periodically, as they researched, editors and reporters convened panels of scholars and community leaders to discuss the significant milestones of Black life in Kansas City that were overlooked or underplayed by The Star and The Times.

Critically, we sought some of those who lived through the events the project explored. They include victims of the 1977 flood, and students (now long into adulthood) of the illegally segregated Kansas City Public Schools. We talked to retired Star and Times reporters and editors, many of whom, along with other colleagues in their time, recognized institutional inertia, and fought for greater racial inclusion.

Reporters were frequently sickened by what they found — decades of coverage that depicted Black Kansas Citians as criminals living in a crime-laden world. They felt shame at what was missing: the achievements, aspirations and milestones of an entire population routinely overlooked, as if Black people were invisible.

Reporters felt regret that the papers’ historic coverage not only did a disservice to Black Kansas Citians, but also to white readers deprived of the opportunity to understand the true richness Black citizens brought to Kansas City.

Like most metro newspapers of the early to mid-20th century, The Star was a white newspaper produced by white reporters and editors for white readers and advertisers. Having The Star or Times thrown in your driveway was a family tradition, passed down to sons and daughters.

But not in Black families. Their children grew up with little hope of ever being mentioned in the city’s largest and most influential newspapers, unless they got in trouble. Negative portrayals of Black Kansas Citians buttressed stereotypes and played a role in keeping the city divided.

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