Black History is American History.
The purpose of the Black History Trail of Geary County is to bring visitors together and experience the cultural historical sites and attractions of the Greater Junction City/Geary County areas of Kansas. We want to foster new initiatives and encourage Kansas African American History as well as American History.
Our mission is to provide opportunities and facilities to further interpretation of our local Kansas African American history and culture of our region of Kansas; address the public’s knowledge, education and awareness of Kansas African American history.
Our objective is one of providing learning opportunities for all local and traveling visitors to learn and develop a greater understanding of significance of African American on our great history of Kansas. The project will facilitate sharing of knowledge, bring and retain visitors to our areas, and provide forums for identifying future projects and programs.
The goal of the Black History Trail of Geary County is to provide a system of quality, accessible trails that offer diverse, healthy outdoor experiences within an urban and rural variety of landscapes and natural habitats; access significant local features, public facilities and developed local neighborhoods and historic business districts; showcase the diversity of American heritage. Through storytelling the proud heritage of Junction City, Geary County and the surrounding areas we preserve history the way it was.
The committee of the Black History Trail of Geary County strives to work with the community for the preservation of African American History in Geary County, especially the stories that have yet to be told.
Jim Sands is a retired U. S. Army Soldier, that retired in 2002. During his military service he attended numerous military schools and distinguished himself honorably during his military service.
His highest award is the Legion of Merit, his military education was every military school he could attend. His motto was, “If it is humanly possible, let me do it”. He has a bachelor's degree in business management, and a master's degree in human resource
Raised in Cooksville, Maryland, he joined the military in the early 70’s, retiring August 2002. I had big fun while in the military being the best at everything he tried. He is
married to the lovely Erin Portis Sands from Boulder, Colorado by way of Zanesville, Ohio. They have a daughter Jamie, and a grandson Davarian. Some personal
accomplishments are getting a second chance at life, being a transplant recipient and a cancer survivor.
One of his favorite mottos, “Never Accept The First Six No’s!!!”
Margy Stewart is co-founder(with Ustaine Talley) of Prairie Heritage, Inc., a non-profit that highlights Black history in the Flint Hills. With her husband Ron Young she is the proprietor of a native-prairie preserve on McDowell Creek, in eastern Geary County. She also serves as vice-chair of the Flint Hills Discovery Center Advisory Board. She has an A.B. from Radcliffe College and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin. She is currently Professor Emerita at Washburn University.
Treasurer/ Project Lead
Melanie Laster retired from USD475 in 2021 after 40 years of teaching having spent the last few years as a school Principal. She received her Bachelor Degree in Elementary Education from the University of Kansas and her Masters in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in reading and an Administrative from Kansas State University. She was born and raised in Junction City.
Amanda Ravenstein moved to Junction City in 2018 with her husband, Will and their two children, Christopher and Savannah.
Over the years she has served on multiple committees and also currently serves as the secretary for the Flint Hills Tourism Coalition.
She has a Bachelor Degree in Graphic Design - Technology From Pittsburg State University.