In a recent dialogue that took place at the State Historical Society of Missouri, 97-year-old long-time Columbia resident Sehon Williams was interviewed about his life, family and work in Columbia. The conversation was part of the Society's series of lectures on the African American Experience in Missouri. Long-time Columbia civic leader Bill Thompson hosted the talk.
On this edition of Intersection we revisit that conversation, which took place at the SHSMo's Center for Missouri Studies in downtown Columbia, and which references key historic neighborhoods, schools, businesses and traditions that made up the African American experience in Columbia, then and now.
A focus of the conversation included Williams' memories of the historic Sharpend business district made up of black-owned businesses. The district was dismantled by officials during the 1960s in the process known as urban renewal.
The African American Experience in Missouri series is co-curated by MU History Professor Keona Ervin and SHSMo Executive Director Gary Kremer. It's a collaboration between the SHSMo's Center for Missouri Studies and the University of Missouri's Division of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity.