Freedom's Frontier builds community through partnership

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Fred Conboy will be visiting Fort Scott on Wednesday, Aug. 1, for the first time in his new capacity as president and CEO of Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area.

He will speak with Rotary on the topic, "Building Community through Partnership with Freedom's Frontier: 'If we don't tell our stories, who will?'"

Conboy's presentation begins in the basement of First Presbyterian Church at 12:30 p.m. and is open to the public. Seating is limited.

Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area is dedicated to building awareness of the enduring struggles for freedom in western Missouri and eastern Kansas. These diverse, interwoven, and nationally important stories grew from unique physical and cultural landscapes. FFNHA inspires respect for multiple perspectives and empowers residents to preserve and share these stories through interpretation, preservation, conservation and education for all residents and visitors.

The Santa Fe, Oregon, California and Mormon trails all ran through the heritage area. As settlers in Missouri and Kansas Territory clashed over slavery and abolition, the resulting border war served as a precursor to the Civil War.

The area was also in the forefront of the civil rights movement, with the landmark Supreme Court decision in Brown vs. Board of Education ending public school segregation.

Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area honors local people who played pivotal roles in these and other distinctive episodes of American history.

Local partners representing museums, historical societies, libraries, other public and private organizations, as well as concerned citizens, led a successful seven-year grassroots effort to obtain National Heritage Area designation for Freedom's Frontier.

They then worked together to create a comprehensive management plan that was approved by the National Park Service in 2010. More recent accomplishments build on that plan and further increase awareness of FFNHA.

For example, FFNHA recently received a $55,000 grant from the National Park Service's American Battlefield Protection Program.

The grant will be used to develop a preservation plan for Lone Jack Battlefield in Missouri.

The harsh close quarter fighting there typified both the earlier border war skirmishes along western Kansas and eastern Missouri border and was part of the greater national conflict of Civil War.

Submitted to the Tribune