February is Black History Month, which makes this a good time to remember Hoisington native Grant Cushinberry.
This week the Topeka Capital Journal’s “History Guy” Tim Hrenchir writes about a local humanitarian, the late Grant Cushinberry, who would have been 100 years old this October.
He was born on Oct. 24, 1991, to Sam and Josie Baugh Cushinberry in Hoisington. He died on July 1, 2008.
He attended Hoisington High School, leaving to join the Army where he was a combat medic during World War II. He later moved to Topeka.
He is remembered for a lifetime of good work in Topeka, where he helped start God’s Little Acre, a clearinghouse where people in need could get food, clothing and other necessities. That is just one example of his humanitarian work.
Cushinberry, who was Black, used to say, “We’re all one race, and that’s the human race.”
Barton County residents can take pride in the fact that Grant Chusinberry was born in Hoisington and grew up there. In fact, the Barton County Historical Society Museum has photos of Cushinberry, whose name was often associated with Topeka’s Community Thanksgiving Dinner. According to Hrenchir’s story, Cushinberry ran his own Topeka trash-hauling business. One year, “when Cushinberry saw people eating from garbage cans along his trash route, he became impassioned about the already existing Community Thanksgiving Dinner. He solicited food for the event and helped organize it for nearly three decades.”
At the Barton County museum, Cushinberry has previously been included in a Black History Month exhibit along with Black filmmaker Oscar Micheaux and professional football player Damian Johnson. How often does a philanthropist get as much recognition as a professional athlete or as someone in the entertainment industry? Not often enough.
“The History Guy: Grant Cushinberry” video by Hrenchir can be seen on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFgz89Nc_aw.