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Daughter of Black Archives founder continues empowerment legacy

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A Kansas City woman is continuing a family legacy of exposing people year-round to Black history.

“I really understand what it was like as a kid to see and touch and smell history and what the community felt like,” said Makeda Peterson.

Peterson’s father, Horace Peterson, founded the Black Archives of Mid-America in 1974.

Artifacts revealing the Black experience in the Kansas City area are on display inside the facility in the 18th & Vine District.

In addition to founding the Black Archives, Peterson’s father brought Juneteenth celebrations to Kansas City in 1980.

Horace Peterson died in 1992.

Makeda Peterson continues the legacy her father started through her work as the program director of JuneteenthKC.

“We offer events that positively promote African American culture and heritage and impact our children,” Peterson explained.

In addition to impacting children, Peterson hopes to impact adults by helping them understand their roots.

“Black History Month is 28 wonderful days, but 365 days of the year, we can keep looking for our personal history again,” she said. “Our genealogy stories and really find strength in that.”

On June 17, JuneteenthKC will hold their annual Heritage Festival, which will include a family history center at the Black Archives.

Peterson said people will be able to trace their family history through public records and records.

“Understanding the whole picture of who your family really is motivates you into who you are,” Peterson said. “He’s so fascinating how your family mirrors itself.”

In addition to the Heritage Festival, the 2023 cultural parade is on June 3.

Kevin Holmes and Cynthia Newsome of KSHB 41 will host the parade.

Parade information can be viewed on the JuneteenthKC website.

The parade can be viewed at KSHB.com.

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