Lee Ward: The Final Sendoff: African-American Funeral Homes

When: Tue., Feb. 7, 6:30 p.m. 2012

Lee Ward has made his life's work about death. He's the director of the privately owned Museum of Funeral History in Independence, and he's also working on a book about the history of funerals in Jackson County. Many white-owned funeral homes refused to provide burial services for blacks, and the discrimination gave rise to black undertakers and funeral parlors. At the Kansas City Central Library (14 West 10th Street, 816-701-3400), Ward discusses 150 years of this history in a program titled "The Final Sendoff: African-American Funeral Homes." He explains: "People are going to wonder: How does this white guy know all about black funerals? Well, it's because I've been doing it for 50 years, both the research and owning funeral homes. I also had the privilege of interviewing the last living, black funeral director in KC from that period, Charles Kerford. He is 93 years old and a Tuskegee airman. I've learned so much from him." Ward's talk begins at 6:30 p.m., following a reception at 6. RSVP for this free program at kclibrary.org or call 816-701-3407.

Nadia Pflaum

Price: free (RSVP required)

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