Horace “Pete” Peterson III: Paving the Way

Date:February 25, 2020
Horace “Pete” Peterson III: Paving the Way

Horace Michael “Pete” Peterson, III was a historian who captured the oral histories that helped shaped the Midwest. He was born on November 23, 1945 in Tulsa, Okla., and moved to Kansas City in 1948.

RideKC and the Prospect MAX Advisory Committee are honoring Horace "Pete" Peterson as part of the Paving the Way Honor Plaque program as part of the new Prospect MAX line. You can find Brooks' Paving the Way Honor Plaque and video biography at the southbound Truman and Prospect station on Prospect MAX.

He went to Central High school, then attended Arkansas A&M College in Pine Bluff, Ark., where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. He interned at the National Archives of Record Service in Washington, D. C., the National Record Center in Kansas City, Mo. and the J. Paul Getty Museum Management Institute. Those internships sparked his fascination with preserving history and he started collecting stories, artifacts and documents about the African American experience in the Midwest. These collections would mark the beginning of the Black Archives of Mid-America which Peterson founded in 1976 and served as its executive director.

Peterson made history when the Black Archives of Mid-America sponsored an exhibit at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art of the original copy of the Emancipation Proclamation. This document had only been loaned out once by the National Archives.

In 1992, Peterson was recognized by the Missouri governor for outstanding contributions to bridging race relations. He is memorialized at the Black Archives. The visitor’s center at the museums at 18th & Vine is named in his honor.

Emancipation ProclamationThe original Emancipation Proclamation (pictured below) was displayed at the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art in 1980, thanks to Horace Peterson.
Original Emancipation Proclamation