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Heart of the City

Premieres Sept 9 at 7:00 p.m.

About the Show

In the heart of Kansas City sits “The Castle on the Hill”, an educational institution with a storied history that has served the predominantly Black neighborhood where it is located since 1867. Lincoln College Preparatory Academy, the city’s first all-Black high school, is the subject of Heart of the City, a new documentary from Kansas City PBS premiering this fall. In recent years, Lincoln Prep was awarded the Blue Ribbon Designation from the U.S. Department of Education, was twice named Best Public High School in Missouri by U.S. News and World Report and found itself in the national spotlight for a winning football program. These accolades come at the same time that families of students may soon be priced out of their neighborhoods due to the threat of gentrification and as the school sees a shift in demographics, becoming a majority white institution for the first time in its 150-year history.

A source of pride for the Black community for more than 150 years, Lincoln Preparatory Academy boasts a roster of exceptional teaching staff and a long list of well-known graduates. Formerly Lincoln High School, the institution is historically known for educational excellence and supporting a traditionally underserved population of Black students. In fact, until desegregation in 1954, Lincoln Prep was the only school for miles to provide high school education to Black students. This storied institution can now add athletics to its list of accomplishments as its football team with a history of back-to-back losing seasons recently boasted four Division I football commits, an unprecedented turnaround that only took five years. Heart of the City, a collaboration with Kansas City PBS and Nico Giles Media, captures these four seniors in their pursuit of a state championship while also navigating the complexity of their home lives in a neighborhood known for high crime rates but at the same time on the verge of development.

Kansas City PBS logo, Heart of the City, football players