Bethel students will have a chance this spring to help give the gift of history to Wichita’s Black community.
Under the supervision of Wichita social scientist Galyn Vesey, an adjunct instructor at the college, students will contribute to the Research on Black Wichita (ROBW) project, which Vesey directs, by collecting data through document searches and other research methods. The specific time period in question is 1945-58.
“An underlying theme here is that history is socially interrelated by both people and ideas,” Vesey says. “We feel differently about ourselves when we find out how and why things happen, or why they may not. We take action, or we don’t, based on our knowledge of history.”
The period from 1945-58 was “the segregation era” in Wichita and there is little documentation on Wichita’s Black community at that time, Vesey says. ROBW has a goal of bringing to life the areas in the city where most Black businesses and organizations thrived, which will require going through boxes of documents from archives, cemeteries and possibly even the Hutchinson salt mines, where municipal records are stored….
The course “Black Wichita: 1945-1958” is designed as a collaborative-inquiry seminar for undergraduate students and is also aimed at members of the community interested in historical research.