To the editor:
On Nov. 13, citizens of Lawrence hosted a tribute to historic preservation in our community. What has emerged in Lawrence over the past three decades has been a dynamic movement to preserve our historical and architectural heritage.
Our tribute, which was sponsored by the St. Luke AME Church Second Century Fund, attracted 150 people. They came to visit exhibits set up by organizations committed to honoring Lawrence's glorious past as "freedom's frontier" in opposition to the spread of chattel slavery. The African American Families Oral History and Black Jack Battlefield Projects had exhibits, as did the NAACP, Lawrence Preservation Alliance, Hobbs Park Memorial, Douglas County Historical Society, Spencer Research Library, Western Star Lodge, Lawrence Historic Resources Commission and other like-minded organizations.
Musical fare was provided by tenor saxophonist Bob Watson Sr., and by Alexandra Guinzbourg, a 13-year-old violinist. Food was provided by Pachamama's and by the women of St. Luke AME Church. Finally, this event was generously underwritten by Harris Construction, which also provided the venue in the Hobbs Taylor Lofts on New Hampshire Street.
It is unfortunate that the Lawrence Journal-World failed to cover this event, especially at a time when Congress is considering designating northeastern Kansas as the Bleeding Kansas and the Enduring Struggle for Freedom Historic Heritage Area. Moreover, this was a wonderful racially integrated moment. We hope to make our tribute to Bleeding Kansas, historic preservation and racial brotherhood and sisterhood an annual event, and we hope you will join us next year.