New Exhibit Explores Obama's Kansas Roots

Apr 18, 2017

The Kansas African American Museum (TKAAM) is hosting an exhibit on former President Barack Obama and his Kansas ties. Mark McCormick, executive director of TKAAM, says the exhibit was completely community driven. The exhibit's run has been extended until May 27. 

Mark McCormick points out a photo of Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Durham. Durham was born November 29, 1942, in Wichita at St. Francis Hospital.
Credit Carla Eckels / KMUW

The exhibit is called “From the Heartland: The Kansas Heritage of President Barack Obama." The multi-panel display features several photos and information about the former president and his family, particularly on his mother’s side, who lived in Wichita and its surrounding areas.

President Barack Obama during his childhood, including a class photo.
Credit Carla Eckels / KMUW

The opening panel features Obama smiling with his arms crossed. It includes a quote from the 44th president: "I got my name from my father but I got my accent and my values from my mother. She was born in Wichita, her mother grew up in Augusta, and her father was from El Dorado. My Kansas roots run deep.'”

Mark McCormick, executive director of the Kansas African American Museum, and Marie Gillespie, who contributed to the exhibit.
Credit Carla Eckels / KMUW

Marie Gillespie, a contributor to the exhibit, says it’s an excellent way to celebrate Obama’s Kansas roots. Gillespie also works with a group who support the exhibit's website, She says the webpage features more information about Obama and oral histories from people who knew some of his family members in Kansas.

The exhibit runs through Saturday, May 27.


Carla Eckels is assistant news director and the host of Soulsations. Follow her on Twitter @Eckels.


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