Support these Kansas City Black businesses featured in “Black Travel Across America”

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  • Published on March 1, 2023
  • Last Updated May 15, 2023
  • In Passport

Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and Ruby Jean’s Juicery were featured in National Geographic film on Disney Plus discussing Green Book travel.

National Geographic’s film “Black Travel Across America,” made a stop in Kansas City, Missouri, and highlighted the Black culture that’s so prevalent in the community. The documentary visited two businesses that are very special to the area’s Black community, Ruby Jean’s Juicery and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.

The film centers around the rise of Black travel and the use of the Green Book. During the 40s, 50s, and 60s, people of color depended on the book to provide destinations across America that were safe to visit.

As the years progressed, many states have seen these locations disappear due to gentrification, low patronage, or lack of funding. As the call to support Black-owned or centered establishments is rising, revisiting some of these locations still in business is vital.

In Kansas City, locals gathered to view the film and celebrate the well-deserved attention. Local news station KSHB-41 was on site and spoke with the leaders of the two KC staples.

“I think it serves as a pivotal way to focus on and highlight Black culture in Kansas City,” said Bob Kendrick, NLBM president.

Chris Goode, the owner of Ruby Jeans, was grateful for the acknowledgement. “All that sacrifice, all that love, all of that hard work, to see it celebrated on the largest of stages, it’s humbling.”

“Black Travel Across America” did a great job adding to the conversation of “buying Black,” especially in areas such as Kansas City, where minority businesses aren’t always the focus.

To do our part in pushing the movement, here is a list of other Black businesses in Kansas City you should consider supporting:

More Life Chiropractic: Led by Dr. Brenton Hicks, the team at More Life offers quality health and wellness care through chiropractic treatment. For patients suffering with back and neck pain, their experienced team can help bring relief with the use of advanced strategies and technologies.

Arthur Bryant’s BBQ: Arthur Bryant, the legendary King of Ribs, is the most renowned BBQ chef in history. He created a sauce that has attracted the likes of former presidents Harry Truman, Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama to his restaurant.

Blue Nile Cafe: Blue Nile Cafe is one of Kansas City’s oldest Ethiopian restaurants. Daniel and Selam Fikru have been instrumental in introducing Kansas Citians to Ethiopian cuisine. Winner of multiple awards over the decades, in 2019 the Blue Nile Cafe was named the “Best Ethiopian” restaurant by 435 Magazine.

Urban Cafe: A casual spot for organic, vegan-friendly breakfast and lunch fare in a bright, welcoming environment. Famous for their (non-vegan) lobster mac-n-cheese and live music.

Jones Bar-B-Q: Sisters Mary and Deborah have barbecue in their blood. After tweaking the recipes of their late father, Jones Bar-B-Q has become one of the top spots in the barbecue capital of Kansas City.

The Black Repertory Theatre of Kansas City: The BRTKC utilizes theater productions, and educational programming to enhance the contributions made by minorities in Kansas City neighborhoods, communities and beyond. During pandemic times, they offered a virtual cabaret.

Bliss Books & Wine: What could be better than a good book and a glass of wine? La’Nesha Frazier and La’Nae Robinson are avid readers, wine lovers, community champions and are the co-owners of Bliss Books & Wine. Bliss Books & Wine encourages curious readers, endorses local arts and connects the pastimes of social drinking and introverted reading.

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