Local leaders host event looking to gain support for re-opening of HBCU

Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 6:24 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Local community leader Curtis Pitts, as well as other community leaders, met for the Day of Love and Hope for our Kansas Families event at the Statehouse Thursday. The event aimed to gain support from Kansas legislators to re-open the Kansas Technical Institute (KTI), a historically black school that resided in Topeka. The land which once housed the school now holds a Topeka Correctional Facility near SE 6th and Rice Rd.

“It’s amazingly important because Kansas was a trailblazer,” Pitts said. “We have to be the front-runners and the pointers for change. We can’t allow the school to be left [closed] because that’s not who we are.”

Former Highland Park High School principal Dale Cushinberry, who’s father attended KTI, is supportive of the possibility of re-opening the school. “KTI was a place where blacks knew they engaged socially and also learn a skill,” Cushinberry said. “When you give CPR to something that is of extreme value to you, your life and this community, it’s exciting. I hope it comes to fruition. I hope it’s done in a matter that is pleasing to the city, but will need to provide a much needed entity to develop the skills of our young people.”

The leaders plan to continue to hold conversations with legislators to earn support. Pitts says a decision could be made within the next two or three years.