From the Ground Up
From the Ground Up: Langston Hughes in Lawrence, Kansas
12th St. and Prairie Ave., Lawrence, Kansas
38° 57' 43.5"
-95° 13' 8.28"
Woodland Park, Twelfth St. and Prairie Ave. Woodland Park used to be north of Twelfth St. at Prairie Ave., east to Mount Cavalry Cemetery. The park included a half-mile race track and amusement park rides. This turn-of-the-century photograph shows throngs of people awaiting entry. This is the site of one of the most notorious events in Not Without Laughter, the fictionalized autobiography by Langston Hughes. The park advertised a free day for all city children. It recanted in the paper the next day and requested African American children to stay away. Hughes wrote of this event: In the summer a new amusement park opened in Stanton, the first of its kind in the city, with a merry-go-round, a shoot-the-shoots, a Ferris wheel, a dance-hall, and a bandstand for weekend concerts. In order to help popularize the park, which was far on the north edge of town, the Daily Leader announced, under its auspices, what was called a Free Children's Day Party open to all the readers of the paper. A corroboration of this account appeared in the Lawrence Daily Journal World of Aug. 17, 1910. The newspaper published an article announcing a city-wide free day at the park. However, it reported: The Journal knows the colored children have no desire to attend a social event of this kind and that they will not want to go. This is purely a social affair and of course everyone in town knows what that means. Hughes would have been a boy of eight at this time.