The State Historical Society of Missouri will host a conversation about life in segregated Columbia as a part of its African American Experience in Missouri lecture series.

A reception and talk will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Center for Missouri Studies, 605 Elm St. The reception will end at 6:30 p.m. It will be followed by the talk and a meet-and-greet.

Bill Thompson, local historian and former Columbia Parks and Recreation employee, will interview longtime resident Sehon Williams. They will talk about what it was like growing up in Columbia during the era of segregation and the legacy of the Sharp End neighborhood of Columbia. The Sharp End was a black business district that thrived in the early 20th century but was destroyed by urban renewal in the 1960s.

Thompson was one of the founding members of the John William “Blind” Boone Heritage Foundation and is a historian of Columbia’s African American community. Williams was born and raised in Columbia and served in Italy during World War II with the 92nd "Buffalo" Division.

The African American Experience in Missouri lecture series began in 2016 and is sponsored by the State Historical Society of Missouri’s Center for Missouri Studies and MU's Division of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity.

  • Fall 2019 community reporter studying magazine journalism. Reach me at or in the newsroom at 882-5700

Recommended for you

Join the conversation

When posting comments, please follow our community guidelines:
• Login with a social account on WorldTable.
• Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language or engage in personal attacks.
• Stay on topic. Don’t hijack a forum to talk about something else or to post spam.
• Abuse of the community could result in being banned.
• Comments on our website and social media may be published in our newspaper or on our website.