A Closer Look at the African American Heritage Trail w/ Dr. Lyle Q. Foster
Time & Location
About The Event
The GCHS is pleased to announce that the 2020 spring meeting will be held on Saturday, March 8, at 2:00 P.M., in Lincoln Hall on the Springfield campus of Ozark Technical Community College. The meeting will feature a presentation by Dr. Lyle Q. Foster, professor of sociology at Missouri State University and prominent business owner. Dr. Foster will be joining us to talk about his work bringing the Springfield Greene County African American Heritage Trail to fruition.
Dr. Foster is assistant professor of sociology at Missouri State University, as well as an active member of the greater Springfield community as a change agent and entrepreneur. A native of the commonwealth of Virginia, Lyle learned early in life to appreciate the value of education. His mother Jacquelin was an educator and encouraged him to take advantage of any opportunities to learn. Following this advice at 16, Dr. Foster went to Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, and later to Brown and Yale University for graduate study. Early in his career, Lyle’s interest in community development led to working in non-profit organizations advocating for the needs of families and children in poverty, implementing several award-winning initiatives for homeless families. Recently Dr. Foster’s interests have included several entrepreneurial initiatives resulting in the creation of several popular local venues in Springfield, giving him a tremendous appreciation and respect for small business owners and the challenges and rewards that accompany those efforts. Additionally, he has served on numerous boards and committees and has founded several non-profit organizations, including the Springfield-Greene County African American Heritage Trail committee.
Besides Foster, organizers of the Springfield Greene County African American Trail include, MSU Chief Diversity Officer Wes Pratt, MSU's Dr. Tim D. Knapp, NAACP Springfield President Cheryl Clay and City of Springfield Director of Public Information & Civic Engagement Cora Scott, Vice-Chairman Public Affairs for the Springfield Chamber of Commerce John Oke-Thomas, and United Way of the Ozarks chief executive officer Gregg Burris. To date sixteen of a proposed twenty-plus sites have been designated. Partnering with the City of Springfield, Springfield-Greene County Park Board, Ozark Greenways, Missouri State and Drury universities, the organizers have furnished distinctive markers to convey the sites' historical significance. Current stops on the trail include, Sherman Avenue Corridor, Lincoln High School (now known as Ozarks Technical Community College’s Lincoln Hall), Jones Alley Business District, the Historic Church Quadrangle, Alberta Hotel, Graham's Rib Station, Commercial Street Business District, St. Louis Street, Gray/Campbell Farmstead, Springfield Art Museum, Silver Springs Park, Bartley-Decatur Neighborhood Center, Kentwood Arms Hotel, and, the most recent addition, the Park Central Square memorial to Coker, Duncan, and Allen, who were lynched in 1906. In his 2018 “State of the City” address, Mayor McClure declared that the trail was designed "to promote healing and appreciation for the African American community’s past and present,” noting that though the city has made "great strides forward in diversity and inclusion . . . we have a long ways to go.”
Following the presentation, attendees will have the opportunity to take a bus tour of selected sites on the trail. Space on the bus will be limited.
Light refreshments will be provided at the event. The presentation at Lincoln Hall is free and open to the public. However, there will be a $5 fee per person to reserve seating for the bus tour. Click here to reserve seating for the tour.