Julia Hill never could abide injustice, with the result that the Kansas City activist has spent nearly 60 years at the forefront of the battle for civil rights and equality.
Now, fresh from her retirement from the executive board of the NAACP, Hill talks about her history of devotion to social causes, as well as the activism of other Kansas City women.
Hill will participate in a public conversation with educator Mary Ann Wynkoop in A Celebration of Kansas City Women Making History on Wednesday, March 20, 2013, at 6:30 p.m. at the Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St.
Among the other Kansas City women whose lives will be discussed are fashion icon Nell Donnelly Reed, world class horsewoman Loula Long Combs, architect Mary Rockwell Hook, and suffragette Dolly Dallmeyer.
The event observes Women's History Month.
Growing up in a segregated community prepared Hill for her decades-long fight for equality and inclusion. In the late 1950s the elementary school teacher organized protests that convinced the operators of downtown department stores to end discrimination in their lunchrooms. In the 1970s she was president of the local NAACP, fighting to ensure that the school district and local companies hired and promoted African Americans. Hill was a member of the Kansas City School Board at the height of its desegregation case in the 1980s, and became its president in 1990.
U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver said the key to Hill's effectiveness was her bravery. "She, more than anyone I know, was not afraid of anyone or anything," he told the Kansas City Star. "Those who opposed her were uneasy because there is nothing that causes more fear and trembling than dealing with someone who is fearless."
Wynkoop is retired from UMKC, where she was an assistant professor in the Department of History and director of the American Studies Program from 2002-2011. She writes and lectures on American studies, women's history, post-WWII American history, the Civil Rights Movement, and film history.
Presented by the UMKC Division of Continuing Education.
Admission is free. A 6 p.m. reception precedes the event. RSVP at kclibrary.org  or call 816.701.3407.