Skip to content Skip to footer

18th & Vine

Women cooking barbecue at the 1989 18th and Vine Jazz Fest

Historic 18th & Vine, Kansas City, MO

Founded May 8, 1974 by Horace M. Peterson III, the Black Archives grew out of

Mr. Peterson’s desire to preserve the history and stories of African Americans in

the Midwest. Since then, the Black Archives has built an outstanding collection of

documents, photographs, rare books and artifacts, which illuminate the African

American experience in Kansas City and beyond.


Located just east of downtown, this historic area includes a number of city blocks

surrounding the intersection of 18th and Vine Streets. African-American Kansas Citians

began settling in this area in the late 1800s, and by the 1920s the 18th and Vine District

was a thriving commercial, residential, and entertainment center. From shopping for clothes

and food to visiting a doctor or lawyer, it has been said that one could find anything and

everything near 18th and Vine.

During the Prohibition era, when Kansas City was under the control of political boss Tom

Pendergast, the 18th and Vine area also became known for its rollicking nightlife,

personified by the music that accompanied it: Kansas City jazz. From the nightclubs in the

district could be heard the sounds of players who would become legends, such as Bennie

Moten, Big Joe Turner, George and Julia Lee, Count Basie, and Charlie “Bird” Parker.

In recent years the area has been redeveloped as a historic district and is now home to

the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, the American Jazz Museum, and the restored Gem