WICHITA, KAN. – The Kansas Health Foundation and the Kansas African American Museum are joining with other local partners in an effort to commemorate the 1958 youth-led lunch counter sit-in at the Dockum Drugstore.
This effort was made public at the Kansas Health Foundation Symposium, when KHF CEO Steve Coen presented a $50,000 grant to Mark McCormick, executive director of the Kansas African American Museum.
“This act of courage in 1958 is the perfect example of what can happen when a group of committed individuals speaks out for what is right,” Coen said. “We can never forget this pivotal event, and we know it is far past time to develop some type of permanent exhibit in this community.”
The Dockum Rexall Drugstore was located at the southeast corner of Douglas and Broadway in downtown Wichita. Today, this building houses the Ambassador Hotel, and the hotel has agreed to be the site for the exhibit.
“The actions taken in 1958 inspire us still today,” McCormick said. “These brave individuals were the first, and history should not – and cannot – forget what they did for our community and our state.”
Though details are still to be determined, all of the partners believe it will be important to include various other partners, including elected officials, sit-in participants and community leaders to determine how best to honor this piece of Wichita’s history.
“It’s an honor to be in a position to help support this effort,” Coen said. “We look forward to being part of the process and helping make this exhibit a reality.”
The Kansas Health Foundation is based in Wichita, but statewide in its focus. With a mission to improve the health of all Kansans, KHF envisions a culture in which every Kansan can make healthy choices where they live, work and play. To achieve this, KHF focuses its work to address health equity in four impact areas: access to affordable health care, healthy behaviors, civic and community engagement and educational attainment. During the past 35 years, KHF has provided more than $600 million in grants to improve health in Kansas communities.
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