Nationally known educator and historian Dr. Edward Beasley Jr., was born June 3, 1932 in Omaha, Nebraska to Edward Sr., and Vesta Sanders Beasley.
He accepted Christ at an early age at Mt. Moriah Baptist Church and graduated from Central High School where he obtained the rank of Sergeant First Class in Junior ROTC and commanded the Color-Bearing Unit for all military parades. He later was honourably discharged from the Army Corps of Engineers as a First Lieutenant.
He earned his Bachelor’s in history at Lincoln University, Jefferson City, MO., Master of Arts at Kansas State Teachers College, Emporia, KS and his PhD from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Dr. Beasley began his teaching career at Sumner High School, Kansas City, KS where for 12 years he taught American History, directed plays and served as an assistant basketball and football coach.
In 1968 he established a Black studies program at Penn Valley Community College and taught there for 25 years, retiring in 1993 as Chairman of the Social Science Department. He also taught at Rockhurst College, was a consultant to General Motors, Kansas City, a consultant for the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools, and an active member of the Kappa Alpha Phi fraternity, and Friends of Yates Branch, YMCA.
Dr. Beasley was a past national president of the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History (founders of Black History Month), and vice president and board member of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.
From 1968-1974 he wrote and narrated the ground-breaking television and radio series “Black History,” which aired on more than 65 stations in the US and on the American Forces Overseas Network.
He founded and was executive director of the Black Motivation Training Center in Kansas City, Kansas, which trained more than 3,500 persons in banking, sales, secretarial work, printing and data processing.
In 1986 he developed the Black Trivia Game and in 2000 was inducted into the Mid-American Education Hall of Fame. The recipient of numerous honors and awards, in acknowledgment of his significant contributions, the City of Kansas City Kansas officially proclaimed June 3, 2012 “Dr. Edward Beasley Day.”
For several years following retirement he authored a regular column in the Kansas City Call newspaper titled “Matters of Fact,” and was frequently requested as a guest speaker across America.
On May 14, 1954 he married Bessie Chandler and raised four children in Kansas City, Kansas. They united with the First Baptist Church, where he was Sunday School Superintendent and a Trustee, and later with Stranger’s Rest Baptist Church, where he served as a Sunday school teacher and Deacon.
Dr. Beasley departed from this life in Surprise, AZ on September 6, 2019. He was preceded in death by his devoted wife of 64 years, Bessie Chandler Beasley, his parents, Edward Sr., and Vesta Beasley, his sister Katie Wilson, and brothers Sylvester (Jack) and Richard Beasley. He is survived by his son Edward III (Jenny) of Glendale, AZ; daughters Debra (Glen) Brown of Leavenworth, KS, Dolores Beasley, of London, England, and Donna (Richard) Brown of Glendale, AZ; his nine grandchildren, four great-grandchildren , scores of nieces, nephews, relatives, friends and grateful students too numerous to count.
A collection of his papers, articles and research are archived at the Dr. Edward Beasley Collection, Kansas Historical Society: https://www.kshs.org/archives/442448.
Visitation, 9-11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 21 at Stranger’s Rest Baptist Church, KCK, followed by the funeral service at 11 a.m. After which, he will be laid to rest with his wife at Highland Park Cemetery. Funeral arrangements were coordinated by Thatcher’s Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History, https://asalh.org