Monday, September 8, 2014

“Sumner High School ‘The Best Kept Secret’” to Premiere at KCKCC

KANSAS CITY, KAN. ----- The community is invited to the premier of a documentary about the history and heritage of Kansas City, Kansas’s once segregated Sumner High School this weekend at Kansas City Kansas Community College.

“Sumner High School ‘The Best Kept Secret’” will be screened twice - 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 12 and noon Saturday, Sept. 13 in the Performing Arts Center at KCKCC, 7250 State Avenue.

Sean Tyler, local radio celebrity, will co-host Friday’s event. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased in advance at the Intercultural Center on the KCKCC campus.

Tickets can also be purchased at the door. A portion of the proceeds will benefit student scholarships. In addition, the documentary will be for sale at the event and is currently available for presale at

This premiere event is sponsored by the Intercultural Center, KCKCC’s chapter of the American Association of University Women, ISO/SOL and Dignified Digital.

Kamiasha Tyner, the documentary creator and videographer, will be present at both showings. Tyner is a 2003 graduate of the Sumner Academy, which replaced the former all-Black Sumner High School. She developed the idea of an overview of the historic school after filming a reunion of the class of 1973, which had graduated when the school was still segregated.

“I became instantly fascinated and obsessed,” Tyner said. “No one ever told me the history of Sumner High School.”

After some initial research, she discovered a rich and complex history that led from a killing in 1904, to the State House in Topeka, where laws were passed to allow the creation of an all-Black High School in downtown Kansas City, Kan.

That school was eventually named Sumner High School and became one of the premier places of education in the United States. Over the next 70 years the school would be paramount in education and became a cornerstone of the regional African-American population.

Although much of the history had been documented, Tyner found few first-hand accounts and virtually no video rendering of the circumstances which led to the formation and operation of the school.

She decided that to reach a younger demographic, she needed to re-package the information. Focusing on interviews with Sumner graduates and school district officials, Tyner has assembled a treasure trove of information – directly from those involved – that sheds new light on what has been described as “one of the best high schools in the nation.”

“My goal is to reach the YouTube-sharing generation,” Tyner said. “If I didn’t get this information in a medium that they can embrace, this history of Sumner will be lost and soon forgotten. The information comes straight from “the horse’s mouth.”

For more information about the event, contact Barbara Clark-Evans, director of the KCKCC Intercultural Center, at 913-288-7504 or by email at The movie trailer can be seen at