Martin Luther King Jr. Day Virtual Event

January 13, 2021

Presentation Explores Emancipated African Americans’ “Free State” Experiences and “Systemic Racism”


Fort Scott, KS – Gordon Parks Museum at Fort Scott Community College in Fort Scott, KS will host “Free Did Not Mean Welcome,” a presentation and discussion by Carmaletta Williams on Monday, January 18 at 12:00pm virtual on Zoom. Members of the community are invited to attend the free Zoom online program. Registration is required. To register for the free webinar Zoom event go to: Contact the Gordon Parks Museum at 620-223-2700 for more information. The program is made possible by Humanities Kansas.


Millions of African Americans walked away from the South after Emancipation looking for freedom. For some it meant a journey to Kansas, a “free state.” Discover how many realized that for Black people in Kansas “Free” did not necessarily mean “Welcome.” Also learn more about “Systemic Racism” that still exist in today’s world and how it impacts our daily lives and also what we can do as a society to help to eliminate it.


Carmaletta Williams is a former professor of English and African American Studies at Johnson County Community College. She is now the Executive Director of The Black Archives of Mid-America.


“Free Did Not Mean Welcome” is part of Humanities Kansas’s Movement of Ideas Speakers Bureau, featuring presentations and workshops designed to share stories that inspire, spark conversations that inform, and generate insights that strengthen civic engagement.


For more information about “Free Did Not Mean Welcome” contact the Gordon Parks Museum at 620-223-2700 ext 5850 or visit


About Humanities Kansas

Humanities Kansas is an independent nonprofit spearheading a movement of ideas to empower the people of Kansas to strengthen their communities and our democracy. Since 1972, our pioneering programming, grants, and partnerships have documented and shared stories to spark conversations and generate insights. Together with our partners and supporters, we inspire all Kansans to draw on history, literature, ethics, and culture to enrich their lives and serve the communities and state we all proudly call home. Visit