Public can weigh in on Dockum Sit-in memorial

The Dockum Drugs store lunch counter was the site of a sit-in in 1958.
The Dockum Drugs store lunch counter was the site of a sit-in in 1958. File photo

Mark it on your calendar: The Kansas African American Museum is hosting two public meetings at the museum to discuss a proposed memorial honoring the 1958 Dockum Sit-in.

The meetings begin at 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday at 601 N. Water.

The meetings will discuss the historical context of 1950s race relations in Wichita, and participants will have an opportunity to help shape the memorial, which is being made possible by a $50,000 grant from the Kansas Health Foundation.

Late in the summer of 1958, 10 members of the Wichita youth chapter of the NAACP staged a successful sit-in at the lunch counter at the Dockum Drug Store on the southeast corner of Douglas and Broadway. They were protesting racial discrimination.

Their nonviolent protest resulted in Dockum – and eventually other stores across the state – providing seated service for blacks. It was one of the first successful lunch counter sit-ins in the United States, happening two years before a sit-in in Greensboro, N.C., caught the nation’s attention.

A request for proposal on the memorial’s design is expected by the end of this year, with a design being selected in February.

Plans are to unveil the memorial in July 2018 during the 60th anniversary of the sit-in.

For more information, contact the Kansas African American Museum’s director, Mark McCormick, at 316-262-7651 or at mark.mccormick@tkaamuseum.org.

Beccy Tanner: 316-268-6336, @beccytanner