There is a tale of two sides of Kansas City- the side East of Troost and the side West of Troost. The story goes that on the east side of Troost residents do not have the luxury of getting a pizza delivered to their door, nor the luxury of fresh produce and healthy foods available at their local grocer, nor the luxury of locally owned business thriving because they are operated by the black community. The story goes that the East side of Troost was intentionally sectioned off to become the city’s urban core. Through block-busting real estate practices that included racial covenants in home deeds and the Kansas City MO School District using Troost as a racial dividing line for attendance boundaries after the Brown vs. Board of Education ruling, allowing schools to remain segregated, the communities on each side of Troost started to take on a whole new world of their own, and those worlds could not have a starker contrast.
The homes of two prominent men from Kansas City can expose the contrast of those two worlds more so than any words. Below you see the childhood home of Walt Disney. It resides on the East side of Troost at 3028 Bellefontaine Ave.
The other man, JC Nichols, of Reece and Nichols real estate lives in Country Club District at 1214 W 55th Street. His real estate practices incited fear in white community, establishing an incredible amount of momentum behind the white flight movement in our city. He effectively moved the white population out of downtown and into the suburbs that he was single-handedly creating in Mission Hills, KS and through the Country Club Plaza. As the white population left, he moved the black community in, establishing our city’s racial divide that is still so prominent today.
Below are students’ responses to injustices and division that have been created and perpetuated by these ill-conceived plans.