Sidney Larson’s Murals at the Guitar Building and the Boone County Courthouse

August 6, 2012

I remember how I felt the first time I walked into the Guitar Building in Columbia. I had heard that it was a very interesting building and the name alone made me wonder why it was named after a musical instrument.

Right there, in all of its glory was a three-paneled mural depicting Columbia’s white mentality about themselves and black people. It made me sick to my stomach. Right then and there, I knew that the meaning of the phrase “Little Dixie.” The artists’ name was Sidney Larson who apparently was a teacher at Columbia College.

Boone County Courthouse in Columbia, Missouri. I was greeted with a painting designed to depict life in Columbia back in the day. I should further state that it depicted white life and how they saw themselves and others. For someone like me who had dreams and ambitions, who graduated high school with honors, and who worked hard to try to accomplish things in life, seeing those paintings made my throat fall into the bottom of my stomach.

Right then and there, I knew that I would not get the justice I would ever deserve in Boone County. Why? Because I was Black. And those paintings, symbolized how the white people felt superior and blacks were inferior.

There was a painting, which even after all of these years, I still recall. It was a painting that depicted a festive party. The white people are standing and dancing around. Their faces are clear and evident. But in the background, wearing black, is Blind Boone playing on a piano. But his face wasn’t even drawn in. He was just a shadow. This is a man who even today and many years after his passing is one of the well-known key figures of Columbia. He was a very successful ragtime pianist. But this painting left me feeling that no matter how talented, how successful, how amazing you are, you are nothing but a shadow in the background if you are black.

On May 30, 2002, I went to the courthouse to find out who in the world came up with these paintings. My first step was to the judges office where I was greeted by the receptionist. She stated that she can help me with the history of the building but they don’t have anything on the paintings. She also stated that their might be plaques next to each picture. She said, “Mr. Perry is Court Administorator.”

So I looked at the pictures and there were indeed some information. As it turned out the judges commissioned these paintings. Yes, the all white judges were responsible for this. When you see these paintings, it makes you wonder how any black person can walk into the Boone County courthouse and feel like they would be represented well. The Court en Banc-judges:
Gene Hamilton
Frank Conley
Ellen Roper
Jodi Asel
Larry Bryson
Chrstine Carpenter
Christopher Kelly

Here are some additional notes on the plaques near these paintings:
The Boone County Community Trust – R.B. Price

The Heinsel Charitable Foundation – Fred V. and Dorothy Heinsel

The Stafford Family Charitable Trust – J. W. “Stan” and Louis Stafford

Project Coordinator: Frank Conley and David L. Knight, Attorney

Sidney Larsen, artist, 1994

On my next journey to Columbia, I plan on taking pictures of these murals as I am amazed that in 2012, there is mention of them but they are nowhere to be seen.
But when you do see them, tell me how you interpret them.

National Black Events Calendar

February 16, 2011




Black History Month
2/11, Various Dates/Cities,

Gullah Celebration
2/01/11-2/28/11, Hilton Head, SC,

SSS Spring Fling
2/05/11, Cataloochee, NC,

Material Girls: Contemporary Black Women Artists
Reginald Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture
2/11/11–10/16/11; Baltimore, MD;

Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit
2/23/11-2/26/11, Orlando, FL,

NBA All Star Events

2/18/11-2/21/11, Los Angeles, CA,

Pan African Film & Arts Festival

2/16/11-2/23/11, Culver City, CA,

Black Comedy Competition

2/11/11-2/13/11, Oakland, CA,

Bronner Brothers Hair Show
2/19/11-2/22/11, Atlanta, GA,

Harlem Fine Arts Show – hosted by Susan Taylor

2/25/11-2/27/11, Harlem, NY;


NBS Summit
3/23/11-3/27/11, Telerude, CO,

Caribbean Arts and Crafts Festival
3/04/11-3/09/11, British Virgin Islands,

Savannah Music Festival
3/24/11-4/09/11, Savannah, GA,

Annual Berks Jazz Festival

3/23/11-3/25/11, Reading, PA,

Mardi Gras San Francisco Style

3/05/11-3/07/11; San Francisco, CA;

San Diego Brazil Carnival

3/05/11; San Diego, CA; tickets weblink

Black Travel Expo
TBD, Philadelphia, PA,

Black Marriage Day
3/27/11, Various Cities,

National Society of Black Engineers Annual Convention
3/23/11-3/27/11, Toronto, Canada,

SSS Spring Fling
3/12/11, Cataloochee, NC,

National Black Memorabilia, Art, Doll & Collectible Show

4/16/11-4/17/11; Gaithersburg, MD;

San Francisco International Film Festival
4/21/11-5/05/11, San Francisco, CA,

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
4/29/11-5/01/11, 1st weekend in New Orleans, LA,

National Forum for Black Public Administrators (NFBPA)
4/16/11-4/20/11, Chicago, IL,

Annual Multicultural Business Conference

4/19/11-4/21/11, Washington, DC,

Memphis in May Festival
4/29/11-5/01/11, Memphis, TN

St. Lucia Jazz Festival
4/30/11-5/08/11, St. Lucia,


New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
5/05/11-5/08/11, 2nd weekend in New Orleans, LA,

St. Lucia Jazz Festival
4/30/11-5/08/11, St. Lucia,

Sweet Auburn Springfest
5/07/11-5/08/11, Atlanta, GA,

Barbados Gospelfest

5/11, Barbados,

Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference
5/11, Location TBD,

Gullah Festival Celebration
5/11, Beaufort, SC,

Afr’am Fest
5/11, Norfolk, VA,

Bonaire Jazz and Salsa Festival
5/11, Bonaire,

Cancun Jumpoff
5/11, Cancun,

Soul Siesta
5/11, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic,

Spoleto Festival
5/11, Charleston, SC,

Atlanta Jazz Festival
5/11, Atlanta, GA

5/11, Brooklyn, NY,

Carnival 2011
5/11, San Francisco, CA,

Los Angeles Black Business Expo
5/11, Los Angeles, CA,


USA Summer Festivals

6/11, Various Dates/Cities,

Hollywood Black Film Festival
6/11, Beverly Hills, CA,

Brooklyn International Film Festival
6/11, Brooklyn, NY,

Capital Jazz Fest
6/11, Columbia, MD,

Healdsburg Jazz Festival
6/11, Healdsburg, CA,

Chicago Gospel Festival
6/11, Chicago, IL,

Jamaica JumpOff
6/11, Runway Bay, Jamaica,

Urban Financial Services Coalition (UFSC) Conference
6/11, Location TBD,

Chicago Blues Festival
6/11, Chicago, IL,

Sundiata Festival

6/11, Seattle, WA,

San Francisco Black Film Festival
6/11, San Francisco, CA,

Real Men Cook
6/10, Various Cities,

FraserNet National Convention
6/11, Location TBD,

Southern California Black Chamber of Commerce Celebrity Golf Classic

6/11, Beaumont, CA;

American Black Film Festival
6/11, Location TBD,

6/11, Milwaukee, WI,

Monterey Blues Festival
6/11, Monterey, CA,

Annual N’DAJE Festival of African Music and Dance

6/11, Boston, MA, weblink

Taste of Chicago
6/11, Chicago, IL,

DC Caribbean Carnival
6/11, Washington DC,

Montreal Jazz Festival
6/11, Montreal, Canada,

Soul Music by the Bay

6/11, Oakland, CA,

Houston CaribFest
6/11, Houston, TX,

Bonaire Jazz and Salsa Festival

6/11, Bonaire,

Annual Leimert Park Village Book Fair

6/11, Los Angeles, CA,

Jubilee Jam
6/11, Jackson, MS,


USA Summer Festivals

AKA Convention

7/11, Location TBD,

Essence Music Festival
7/11, New Orleans, LA,

Fillmore Street Jazz Festival
7/11, San Francisco, CA,

NAACP Annual Convention
7/11, Location TBD,

Ghetto Golfers Fundraiser Tournament

7/11, St. Louis, MO;

National Dental Association (NDA) Annual Convention
7/11, Location TBD,

International Multicultural Tourism/Hotel Ownership Summit
7/11, Location TBD,

7/11, Toronto, Canada,

National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice
7/11, Location TBD,

National Urban League Conference
7/11, Washington DC,

National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Annual Convention
7/11, Location TBD,

Waterfront Blues Festival
7/11, Location TBD,

Bill Pickett Rodeo
7/11, Los Angeles, CA,

Bill Pickett Rodeo
7/11, Oakland/Hayward, CA,

Annual Party in Palm Springs Summer Splash
7/11, Palm Springs, CA,

National Black Arts Festival
7/11, Atlanta, GA,

Indiana Black Expo
7/11, Indianapolis, IN,

Macy’s Music Festival

7/11, Cincinnati, OH

Houston International Jazz Festival
7/11, Houston, TX,

Central Florida Christian Rally
7/11, Daytona Beach, FL,

Reggae Sumfest
7/11, Montego Bay, Jamaica,


USA Summer Festival

National Brotherhood of Cyclists Conference
8/04/11-8/07/11; Oakland, CA;

Lansing Jazzfest
8/05/11-8/06/11; Lansing, MI;

OldTownBlues Fest
9/05/17-9/18/11; Lansing, MI;

National Sales Network Convention
8/11, Location TBD,

Satchmo Summerfest
8/11, New Orleans, LA,

African World Festival
8/11, Milwaukee, WI,

National Bar Association Annual Convention
8/11, Location TBD,

Umoja Family Festival
8/11, Seattle, WA,

National Black Theater Festival
8/11, Winston-Salem, NC,

Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival
8/11, Vineyard Haven and Oak Bluff,

Annual Black Boaters Summit
8/11, British and U.S. Virgin Islands,

Watts Summer Festival
8/11, Watts, CA,

Long Beach Jazz Festival
8/11, Long Beach, CA,

National Black Police Association Annual Convention
8/11, Sacramento, CA,


Black Enteprise/Pepsi Golf & Tennis Challenge
9/11, Carlsbad, CA,

Summer of Sin
9/110, Las Vegas, NV,

Chicago Jazz Festival
9/11, Chicago, IL,

Verizon Wireless American Music Festival
9/11, Virginia Beach, VA,

Art & Soul Festival
9/11, Oakland, CA,

Montreux Jazz Festival
9/11, Atlanta, GA,

California Book Club Summit (African American Authors)
9/11, TBD, CA,

Kettle Moraine Jazz Festival
9/11; West Bend, WI,

Blues at the Beach
9/11, Virginia Beach, VA,

African American Street Festival
9/11, Nashville, TN,

Monterey Jazz Festival
9/11, Monterey, CA,

Sedona Jazz on the Rocks
9/11, Sedona, AZ,

Urbanworld FilmFest
9/11, New York, NY,

Dallas – Fort Worth Literary SoulFEST
9/11, Dallas & Fort Worth,

Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo
9/11, TBD,

ADCOLOR Annual Awards
11/11, Miami Beach, FL;

Anguilla Tranquility Jazz Festival
11/11, Anguilla,

Philadelphia International Art Expo
11/11, Philadelphia, PA,


African Diaspora Film Festival
12/11, New York City, NY,

World of Chocolate Holiday Event – World AIDS Day Fundraiser
12/11, Chicago, IL,

Holiday Kwanzaa and Christmas Gift Show
12/11, Oakland, CA,

Begins 12/11; 7-day festival in various cities,

Chicago Hoilday Sports Festival
12/11, Chicago, IL,

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service
1/11, Various Dates/Locations,

Zora Neale Hurston Festival
Eatonville, FL,

Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival
Montego Bay, Jamaica,

NBS Eastern Region Winter Skifest
Gatlinburg, TN;

Lucille Bluford Branch Library, Kansas City

February 16, 2011

Along with its strong collections in African American literature it is the first library in the Kansas City Public Library system to host a Health & Wellness Center. Among the amenities in the Center are specialized collections featuring extensive materials on topics ranging from teen pregnancy to diabetes; health kits for adults and teens containing books, DVDs, brochures, and articles relating to particular ailments, conditions, and diseases; and a machine to measure blood pressure. Also, a series of special programs take place on a monthly basis featuring health experts, health care industry job fairs, workshops, and health screenings.

About Lucille Bluford

Lucile Bluford was born on July 1, 1911. She was an African-American news publisher and businesswoman.

Her name became known outside the city when she sued the University of Missouri for denying her entry to its graduate journalism program. Lincoln University, the historically black university, didn’t have a journalism program so MU was ordered to admit her. Unwilling to do so, the university suspended offering graduate journalism courses in order to keep her from attending. Years later, she would receive the University of Missouri’s esteemed Honor Medal and an honorary doctorate.

Bluford joined the paper as a reporter in 1932 after graduating from the University of Kansas, the second black student to major in journalism there. Best known for her more than 50-year journalism career, Bluford became editor in 1955 following the death of Chester A. Franklin, the publisher and editor of the Call newspaper. During her time at the Call, Bluford was a leader in the Kansas City civil rights movement and made the paper one of national importance to the African-American community through journalism as a whole. The Call was a whole different journalistic approach to the world, a fresh view to read.

Bluford was committed to keeping the Call alive in the city’s 18th and Vine area after the area’s heyday and before its recent resurgence. When everything went down in the commerce district, there was only one business that remained open, The Kansas City Call.

Bluford took the responsibility of being a leader in the African-American community seriously. When Jesse Jackson was running for president, he came to Kansas City to do a campaign speech at the Municipal Auditorium. Bluford was in the upper balcony and Jackson had finished speaking and began asking for campaign contributions. She stood up saying, “Wait a minute. Wait a minute.” People saw her, and so everybody got quiet. She’s up in the balcony and she leans over and says, “Now Reverend Jackson, how long did you know you were coming to Kansas City before you came?” He said, ‘Well, it was a campaign stop.’ She said, ‘Is there any reason you didn’t contact the Kansas City Call?’ You could hear a pin drop. Jackson said, “Well, no ma’am. I apologize.’ And she said, ‘Well, you ought to apologize.” There were 8,000 people there and she just dressed him down.

Lucile Bluford, 91, editor and publisher of the Kansas City Call and a champion of the civil rights movement died on June 13, 2003 in Kansas City.

Reference Library of Black America Volumes 1 through 5
Edited by Mpho Mabunda
Copyright 1998, Gale Research, Detroit, MI

Penn School Memorial Park

February 16, 2011

Penn School Memorial Park

Penn School was the first school built west of the Mississippi for educating Black children; the school was established in 1868 and closed in 1955; the building was destroyed by fire in 1969, but today the site is commemorated with the Penn School Memorial Park

ADDRESS: Westport Road at 43rd Street

Outside Jesse James’ Home in St. Joseph, Missouri

October 20, 2009

We took a trip to St. Joseph on a lazy Saturday in June, 2009. We were excited to visit the home of Jesse James. The home sits next to a museum called the Patee House. You walk up a few stairs and first arrive to a set of headstones with names of people who are related to Jesse James.

At first, we thought the headstones marked actual grades of the deceased Jesse James. But we later found out that that the headstones are for just for a display.

There is a nice stone sign that says:

“Jesse James Home

Outlaw Jesse James was shot and killed in this house April 3, 1882. It was then at 1318 Lafayette on the hill above Patee House. It was moved here in 1977.”

The Jesse James Home was moved from its original location to where it stands now. They remodeled the home to fortify it.

I wonder what Jesse James would think to know that a woman and child of color were entering into his home. During Jesse Jame’s day, we would have been killed by him likely if we were anywhere close to his home.

It just goes to show how times change and although there is so much more to do, especially in his town of St. Joseph, we as a state have certainly come a long way from the late 1800’s.

Kansas City Soul Food Restaurants

August 16, 2009

If soul food is what you crave, you won’t be disappointed by Kansas City’s offerings. Try the fried chicken, sweet potato cornbread or peach cobbler at restaurants like the Peachtree at 18th & Vine (1512 E 18th St., 816-472-8733), Papa Lew’s Soul Delicious Food (2128 E 12th Street, 816-421-3378), Niecie’s Restaurant (8686 E 63rd St., 816-358-8100), The Mango Room (1111 Main St., 816-268-4600) and Peachtree Buffet (6800 Eastwood Tfwy., 816-923-0099).

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