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 (KHF) is a nonprofit organization based in Wichita but statewide in its focus. At KHF, all our work centers on our mission: to improve the health of all Kansans. As part of a new strategic framework, developed by our staff and board of directors, KHF also strives to accomplish three primary purposes: empower Kansas to lead the nation in health; eliminate the inequities that create health disparities; and, for KHF to become THE model for philanthropic impact.
Learn more about the latest Foundation news, grant opportunities, stories and health articles by signing up for KHF’s e-newsletters. Join today!