Chapter 281

SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION No. 1612 A Concurrent Resolution encouraging the State Board of Education to make available to schools expanded curricular offerings regarding the contributions made to Kansas history by African-Americans.

WHEREAS, Throughout Kansas history, African-Americans have played a very influential role in the development of the state; in order to assess this role, additional investigation and study is necessary; and

WHEREAS, At the birth of the state in 1861, the year which also saw the beginning of the national violence known as the Civil War, ``Bleeding Kansas'' became a symbol of the struggle within the country over the future status of African-Americans; and

WHEREAS, The state of Kansas has a rich historical heritage steeped in sacrifice, courage and perseverance, but little coverage has been af- forded the contribution made to that heritage by such African-Americans as those who comprised the ``1st Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry'' which by reputation and deed acquitted itself well and performed its duties nobly in many Civil War battles; and

WHEREAS, Persons of African descent have significantly influenced the spirit of Kansas and its traditions, yet too few Kansans know about the connection with this state of such notables as George Washington Carver, the famed agricultural scientist who attended school and home- steaded in Kansas, and Lutie Lytle who graduated from Topeka high school and became the first African-American woman lawyer in the United States; and

WHEREAS, Kansas has produced many talented African-Americans who have been important in the development of the arts in America; one such Kansan is Gordon Parks who was born near Fort Scott and became one of the nation's best known photojournalists; another such Kansan is Langston Hughes who spent his childhood in Topeka and Lawrence and became one of the nation's most honored authors; another Kansan who gained renown in the arts is Hattie McDaniel who was born in Wichita and was the first African-American actress to win an academy award; and

WHEREAS, The world of sports in America has been peopled with such African-American luminaries as Gale Sayers, the Kansas Comet, who was the youngest football player ever admitted to the pro football hall of fame, and Lynette Woodard, who was the first woman to play basketball with the famed Harlem Globetrotters; and

WHEREAS, The activities and concerns of Kansans of African descent have suffered from a twofold handicap historiographically; until very re- cently, white historians have entirely overlooked the actions of African- Americans and focused on white Kansans and the actions of Kansans of African descent have fared no better at the hands of African-American historians who have sought only famous African-American individuals to research in detail; and

WHEREAS, ``A look at the past with hopes of building strategies for the future'' was the focus of the International Black Student Alliance's annual International Black Conference for 1995: Now, therefore,

Be it resolved by the Senate of the State of Kansas, the House of Rep- resentatives concurring therein: That the Legislature, in the belief that the awakening in Kansas children of an awareness of the contributions and an identification with the spirit of Kansans of African descent who have played such an important role in the development of this state's ideals of freedom, equality and justice can lead to enhanced interracial relations and cohesion in the community which will benefit the social, economic and political well-being of this state, and being aware that the state board of education has the duty and responsibility to select and set standards for course offerings in schools, hereby encourages the state board to determine an effective way to make available to schools ex- panded curricular offerings regarding the multitudinous contributions made to Kansas history by African-Americans; and

Be it further resolved: That the Secretary of State is hereby directed to transmit enrolled copies of this resolution to the State Board of Edu- cation and to the Commissioner of Education at 120 S.E. 10th Avenue, Topeka, Kansas 66612-1182. [j82]House February 7, 1996 [j82]Senate February 13, 1996