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Challenge, Sacrifice, Triumph...and still we rise!


For more than a decade, The Kansas African American Museum (TKAAM) has honored pioneers who helped shape the Kansas African American experience through an exhibit titled Trailblazers. Now, TKAAM recognizes the perseverance and achievements of these leaders at its dazzling annual fundraiser, A Tribute to Trailblazers. Each year this event proudly honors a new class of inductees into an esteemed, established “Hall of Fame.”


A Trailblazer is a leader, a pacesetter, a pioneer, and each year we have four honorary categories for individuals who have made a significant impact in their respective arena. A Posthumous Trailblazer is awarded to those who have walked the path before us and given us hope as we move into the future. 

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2020 Presenting Sponsor


Honoree Sponsor


Print Sponsor



2020 Honorees


Hattie McDaniel

Performing Arts Trailblazer



Oscar Winning Actress


Carla Eckels

Broadcast/Journalism Trailblazer


Cultural Diversity



Junetta Everett

Health/Business Trailblazer

Vice President,

Professional Relations

Delta Dental of Kansas

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Sam Ford

Broadcast/Journalism Trailblazer

Washington, D.C.

Bureau Chief

abc7 News

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Dr. Sharla Smith

Doris Kerr Larkins, Rising Star Award

Assistant Professor

School of Medicine

University of Kansas

Exhibition Sponsors


Jill Docking

  • 2022
    Dr. Kevass J. Harding Delano E. Lewis June Bacon - Bercey Roy Moye III
  • 2021
    Wanda Parker-Givens Sheinelle Jones-Ojeh Dr. Larry Mitnaul Hon. Julie A. Robinson John Brooks Slaughter
  • 2020
    Carla Eckels Junetta Everett Hattie McDaniel Sam Ford Sharla Smith, Ph.D.
  • 2019
    Ms. Deltha Q. Colvin Greg “Hitman” Williams Gordon Parks Ebony Clemons-Ajibolade
  • 2018
    Dr. Alicia Thompson Karla Burns Elisha Scott, Sr
  • 2017
    Kevin Merida Connie Franklin Ron Walters
  • 2016
    Kevin Wilmott Kim Thomas Godwin Opara Father Mark Carroll
  • 2015
    Robert Brogden Judith Wencel Willie Jeffries Donald Hollowell
  • 2014
    James Hysten Fern Merrifield Van Giesen LaFayette Norwood Dwight Eisenhower
  • 2013
    James Reeb Dockum Sit-in Group Veryl Switzer
  • 2012
    Ed Dwight Cheryl McAfee-Mitchell Charyl McAfee Duncan U.L. “Rip” Gooch
  • 2011
    Angela Bates Lynette Woodard Linwood Sexton
  • 2010
    Ralph Reid Rosie Hughes Barry Sanders
  • 2009
    Xavia Hightower-Howard Shon Gables Cheryl Brown Henderson Rev Oliver L. Brown
  • 2002
    George Johnson Rudy Love John Allen Anderson Eugene Jackson Abner Val Jean Jackson Bernice Hutcherson Johnathan Wells Mildred Ingram Dr. William Burney Billy Randle, Sr. Jennifer Jones Chief Norman Williams Zenobia Washington Julius McLaurian Billy Q. McCray Rev. Jettie P. Dennis, Jr. Charles Doughty Dr. Donald Jackson
  • 2000
    Melina Banks Riley Banks, Jr. Jo Gardenhire Harold Cary Spencer Tolbert Cleo Littleton Terrence McDonald, M.D. Melvin Parks Josephine Brown Jessie Foust Val Brown Sr., M.D. Dennis Shaw Samuel Adams Judge Greg Waller Floyd Powell Vashti Lewis, Ph.D. Rev Kenneth L. Davis Curtis McClinton Bishop J.C. Gilkey, Sr. E. Ceasus Tyree

Community Sponsors

Berry Foundation 

Communication Federal Credit Union

McClelland Sound

Heart of Christ Church

Vera & Jim Bothner

Ted D. & Marcia Ayres

Wichita Education Foundation

C. Edward & Gidget Watson

Carla Eckels family

Amy Hamilton 

Morgan Stanley Flinthills Group

Wichita Chapter Links Inc

NE Optimist Club of Wichita

Real Men Real Heroes

Kansas Leadership Center

Wichita SHRM

Watkins Public Strategies - Topeka

We Are Culture Sponsors

Keith Pickus

Donna Perline

Charlie & Mary Moon

Jeff & Flora Beasley

Ann Fox

Andrew Nave

Eleaner Keppy

Trudy & John Baker

Lavonta & Billy Williams

Ross & Twila Puritty

Holly Putnam-Jackson

Don & Ellie Skokan

Dr. Kimberly Krull

Kathe Thompson

Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudeau

Lai-L & Damon Daugherty

Sylvia Steinshouer

Sheila Kinnard

Skyward Bound Solutions

Jeff & Janice Van Sickle

Melissa Knoeber

Melody Miller

TeOndra Phillips

Marvin Stone

Lacey Cruse

Patrice & Charles Poole

Carolyn & Mark McGinn

Theola Cooper

Legacy Bank

Michael Mullins

James & Cynthia Nastars

Marvin Stone Jr.

Sheree & David Utash

Ann & William Woods

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