African American Builders of Topeka
This exhibit told the stories of 14 living African Americans that presently contribute to the positive development of Topeka.
There are hundreds, perhaps even thousands of African Americans that could bear the title of ‘Community Builder’—a person that is contributing to the development of Topeka in ordinary and extraordinary ways through their undertakings. The 14 living Builders and Builder organizations featured in the exhibit were nominated by members of the community and then interviewed by library staff for inclusion.
The Builders are people you see around Topeka. You may see them at work. Socialize with them after church. They sit on community boards, run organizations and own businesses. All while striving to make Topeka a better place. Some are well known, such as Jack Alexander, the first African American Water Commissioner. Others are lesser known, like Norma Avery, who organizes community events, such as Juneteenth, that honor the history of African Americans while providing a safe atmosphere for youth in our community. The depth and breadth of the Builders provide a foundation that all of Topeka can build upon.
The stories of our community Builders do not end with this exhibit or magazine spread. Their stories will be archived in the Local History archives in the Topeka Room at the library, preserved so they can be told for generations to come.