Watermelon Hill

All Kansas City Public Library locations will close at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, November 26, and will remain closed all day Thursday, November 27, for Thanksgiving.

Local historian Joelouis Mattox looks at an era when African Americans were permitted to have picnics at just one spot in the city’s parks system: At Shelter No. 5 in Swope Park, known widely as “Watermelon Hill.”
Joelouis Mattox
Sunday, July 14, 2013

In the 1950s and ‘60s, Kansas City was a heavily segregated town. African-Americans were limited even in which city facilities they could use. For instance, black citizens were permitted to have picnics at just one spot in the city’s parks system: at Shelter No. 5 in Swope Park, widely known as “Watermelon Hill.”

Local historian Joelouis Mattox discusses this era in the city’s racial past.