Wichita Park and Recreation was honored to host the ribbon cutting of Chester I. Lewis Reflection Square Park on Saturday, September 16, 2023.
The park design commemorates the life and accomplishments of Lewis and includes artwork from artists Ellamonique Baccus and Matthew Mazzotta. The park also serves as a secondary entry plaza for the Kansas Health Science Center - Kansas College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Feedback from Lewis' family, stakeholders, and the community helped shape the final design. It includes ornamental paving, lighting, interpretative art features, and seating areas to relax, study, and gather for special events.
This park is named for Chester I. Lewis, the late prominent local Civil Rights leader who served on the legal team that argued the landmark 1954 Brown v. Topeka Board of Education case before the U.S. Supreme Court. He also provided guidance to the NAACP Youth Council during the first successful series of student sit-ins at the Dockum Drug Store lunch counter in 1958. Their courage inspired other similar sit-ins across the country and helped bring about racial equality at places including restaurants, businesses, and swimming pools.
Bronze Lunch Counter Sculpture
The park renovation includes plans to move the bronze lunch counter sculpture to Finlay Ross Park where it will be prominently featured.
The Richard Devore family generously donated the sculpture to the Wichita community which was installed in Chester I. Lewis Reflection Square Park in 2002. The sculpture will be carefully preserved and protected in a storage facility until it is ready to be installed at Finlay Ross Park.
Look for more exciting announcements to come and watch the video to learn more about the history behind the lunch counter sculpture.