A Community Celebration

4/10/2019 12:00:00 AM

Quindaro Townsite National Commemorative Site

The Unified Government, the Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area and the Kansas City, Kansas Convention and Visitors Bureau celebrated the recent announcement of the Quindaro Townsite’s designation as a National Commemorative Site today at the Quindaro Overlook Structure located at 3507 N 27th St. in Kansas City, Kansas.

A large group of more than 250 people attended the event to celebrate this honorary designation and to also pay tribute to all of the people, both past and present, who contributed to years of hard work and dedication to get the Quindaro Townsite recognized as a place of historical significance. 
 
“So many of the key people who helped have passed away, but they were there in spirit,” said Marvin Robinson, Quindaro Ruins Researcher and advocate. “The joy and adulation of those people who came before us would be very pleased.”
The one-hour program consisted of several speakers representing the Wyandot Nation of Kansas, the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME), community groups, and state, local and federal agencies.

“I want to thank all of you who have joined together today to mark an important moment in our history. I offer a special thanks to all those who made this moment possible. All of those from our community who made it their mission to preserve this inheritance who fought to preservice this site,” said Unified Government Mayor/CEO, David Alvey.

After remarks, Senator Pat Roberts unveiled the sign officially honoring the Quindaro Townsite as a National Commemorative Site.

The Qunidaro Townsite was officially established as a National Commemorative Site when President Donald J. Trump signed S. 47: John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act into law on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. The bill sets forth provisions regarding various programs, projects, activities, and studies for the management and conservation of natural resources on federal lands.

Quindaro was founded by abolitionists in the 1850s and became a Free State port of entry and stop on the Underground Railroad. The town provided a route for slaves to escape from Missouri and helped stop slavery from spreading west. Quindaro was abandoned and became overgrown, but was rediscovered during an archaeological dig in the 1980s.

The Quindaro Underground Railroad Museum houses artifacts from the townsite which are part of the Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area. In 2005, Senator Pat Roberts and then Senator Sam Brownback introduced legislation, signed into law, to establish the Heritage Area.

The Quindaro Townsite is currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Designating the site as a National Commemorative Site will help foster more investment and preservation at the site.

“Now the hard work begins to make sure the highest quality of archaeological stabilization of the foundations needs to be a top priority of focus,” says Robinson. “We need to cling on faith the size of a mustard seed, because there’s so many barriers we can override with optimism and faith.”

The Charleston Public School Complex in Charleston, AR was the first national commemorative site to be designated in 1998. It was the first school system in the South to fully desegregate following the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision in 1954.

This designation remained one-of-a-kind for nearly 20 years until Congress designated the Landmark for Indianapolis, Indiana as the Kennedy-King National Commemorative Site in April 2018. The Qunidaro Townsite is now the fourth historic landmark to receive this national commemorative site designation.

For more information about the event, please contact Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area at 785-856-5300 or visit freedomsfrontier.org.
 
You can catch the celebration on UGTV. View the UGTV program schedule for future airings.