Black History Exhibit Honors Kenoshans

Christian Life School parent, Kendal West, is the founder of the African American Club in Kenosha. A few months back he began to execute his idea for an exhibit during Black History Month that would honor the history of African American families in Kenosha. The exhibit came from the club’s mission to share with the general population about the rich history of their culture. “There is so much history within the city of Kenosha that has yet to be told,” said West. He shared that many of these stories have been passed down by word of mouth and not recorded. His goal is to help create archives as a means of education.

The Exhibit

The first two exhibits are vignettes of important African American figures that were either born and raised in Kenosha or resided here long enough to be considered Kenoshans. West said “I have so many stories to tell and my goal is to start chronologically and I am working with the Kenosha Public Libary to add more vignettes to the exhibit throughout the year.” The first story on display actually features CLS Varsity Girls Basketball Coach, Tenisha Williams-Jelks‘ family. They are on record as the first African American family to settle in the Kenosha area. Other stories feature Kathy Marks, the first African American female to hold local public office, and the Maddox brothers who were the first to own a registered business and get a home loan and purchase in town.

All of the stories are told from the perspective from families that can speak to the experiences. It was very important to West that the word of mouth stories are properly vetted and he shared that hours of research have gone into this exhibit.

Open to the Public

If you want to check out this exhibit, it is featured at the Kenosha History Center and the Civil War Museum through the end of the month. There is no cost.

Display at Civil War Museum