Kansas City is proud of its 18th & Vine District, a neighborhood that was the birthplace of Kansas City jazz, the center of commerce for the city’s African-American community from the 1920s into the 1960s and a place where racial diversity was the norm. Federal, state and local grants and loans have helped the revitalization of this area become a reality.
Included in the 50,000-square-foot museum complex and performance facility is The Jazz Museum, showcasing Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Count Basie and Billie Holiday. The Blue Room Jazz Club features local artists.
Also included are The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and a Visitors Center, with an indoor theater that puts visitors on the corner of 18th & Vine in the 1930s.
The Gem Theater was constructed in 1912 as a movie house for the exclusive use of African-Americans and is now a 500-seat cultural and performing arts center for musical performances, theater productions, dance theaters and multimedia events.
The Black Archives of Mid-America has one of the Midwest’s largest displays of African-American photographs, sculptures and paintings.
Rounding out the District are soul-food restaurants, African-American art galleries, gift shops and the 18th & Vine Authority, (816) 474-8463.