A SHORT HISTORY OF NORTH WICHITA NEIGHBORHOODS

The preservation and celebration of the cultural history of both neighborhoods have never been as important or relevant as in today’s socio-political climate.

[ NORTHEND ]

For the North End residents, the phenomenological history of their neighborhood is rife with the remnants of wage slavery, poor living conditions, and racial discrimination. Conversely, some religious institutions and family owned business remain in operation today, illustrating a strong desire from those mostly Mexican immigrants to integrate into the fabric of Wichita, fostering a sense of belonging through food, the arts, and religiosity.

Dating back over 100 years, rail yards and meat packing companies actively recruited migrant Mexican workers with promises of transportation and housing. However, provisions for the workers and their families were insufficient. As worker colonies grew, new immigrants moved into North Wichita in search of better living conditions and more viable employment, they were met with opposition from labor unions that wanted to exclude Mexicans from working in Wichita.

The 1915 Kansas Census listed only 135 Mexicans living in Wichita. 74 of these were adult males and all were listed as laborers. There were only 23 adult women all listed as housewives and hence there were only 23 families that had 38 children among them. By the 1925 Kansas Census, the number of Mexicans living in the city had grown to 934.The North End community of Mexicans lived mostly between 21st Street and 25th Street within a few blocks west of Broadway.

According to the 2010 Kansas Census, Wichita has a Latino population of approximately 58,348 people, of which 49,000 are of Mexican heritage. Although Latino and Asian populations live all throughout the city, the Northend continues to be an area with a high concentration of Latino and Southeast Asian residents.

[ NORTHEAST ]

Many of the residents of Northeast Wichita historically were African-American migrants from the South. Due to the lack of resources and means of access, their spatial experiences were inherently dictated by real estate agents, federal government housing agencies, white neighborhood councils, and banks.

The Home Owners’ Land Corporation created a system that rates urban neighborhoods by defining risks to lending organizations. African-American residents were the most ‘at-risk’ demographic and were victims of a process called redlining. This allowed banks to deny loans for commercial or personal property for Northeast residents. Blocking progress, pushing African-Americans out white neighborhoods, and causing the deterioration of their already geographically scarred community. Decimated by the construction of an interstate highway.

HISTORICAL RESOURCES

North End- Beginnings

Mexicans have been coming to Wichita starting in the 1870s, when they came as Vaqueros on the cattle drives. They numbers remained small, however, for much of the 1800s.

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North End Growth

Meat packing plants provided more year round employment. Cudahy was the major meat packing plant in Wichita and employed many Mexican workers, attracting the employees to the North End community.

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North End Demographic Change

Like other immigrants, Mexicans came to south central Kansas in search of a better life for themselves and their families.

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Northeast- Early Wichita's African Americans

The State of Kansas was forged in the crucible of violence over the issue of slavery. Though the 1820 Missouri Compromise had explicitly forbidden the practice in most new western territories except Missouri, the 1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act allowed settlers in the proposed new states to self-determine whether or not slavery would or would not be legal within their borders.

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Northeast- Kansas Black History Month

Enjoy these daily facts about how African Americans helped shape Kansas.

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Northeast- African American business history is the focus of WSU project

Robert Weems worries that the history of African American businesses in Wichita may someday be lost forever. That’s why he’s made it his mission to document all that he can.

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Northeast- Wichita Church's Black History Video Series Highlights African-American Trailblazers

A pastor in northeast Wichita is offering a Black History Video Series and community discussion every 3rd Sunday in Wichita.

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Northeast- An Underappreciated Piece of Wichita's African American History

While working on the African Americans of Wichita book project, I was struck by how many prominent figures of the 20th century were veterinarians.

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Northeast- An Underappreciated Piece of Wichita's African American History

Back in 2011, things seemed more promising when the building at 1205 E 12th Street in Wichita was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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