August 21, 2006
Jefferson City, Mo. — A transcript of the Aug. 17 public hearing in Kansas City on the future of the non-profit Black Archives of Mid-America is now available. Attorney General Jay Nixon hosted the hearing, which featured the testimony of more than 40 speakers and was attended by more than 240 people.
Barbara Peterson, widow of Black Archives founder and executive director Horace Peterson, gave remarks about her husband's visions for the collection of historic artifacts and documents that chronicle the experiences of African Americans in the Midwest since the mid-1800s. Other speakers at the hearing included local and state elected officials, civic and religious leaders, historians, archivists, and concerned members of the community.
As steward of the state's non-profit assets, Nixon has been working to ensure that the Black Archives is preserved and made accessible. Continued concerns have included accessibility problems, stability of the Archives management and the dissolution of the Archives as a non-profit corporation in January of this year by the Missouri Secretary of State. That status was reinstated only last week, but Nixon said his concerns about the operations continue, and that the public hearing last week was an important step to getting the Black Archives back on its feet.
“We heard many, many thoughtful and constructive comments during the course of the hearing, which lasted more than three hours,” Nixon said. “People in the community are very passionate about preserving the Archives for this and future generations. I am encouraged by and very appreciative of the enthusiasm I saw Thursday night. We need to capitalize on that energy and momentum to keep the Black Archives as a viable chronicle of this important part of Missouri history.”
Nixon said he and his staff would continue to work with community leaders on the issue, and that a follow-up meeting to the public hearing would be scheduled in the next few days.