Gravesite of Junius George Groves, Sr.

Groves came to Kansas City, Kansas from Louisville, Kentucky in 1879, He moved to a ten-acre farm near Edwardsville, Kansas. By the turn of the century, he owned in excess of 500 acres of farmland, and in 1902, his potato harvest exceeded that of any farmer on record in the world - thus earning for himself the title of “Potato King of the World.” Groves was a self-educated entrepreneur and the wealthiest African American in the US by the first decade of the 20th century. Groves was a founding member of the Kansas State Negro Business League, the Kaw Valley Potato Association, the Sunflower State Agricultural Association, and the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church Society. In the early 1900s, he founded the community of Groves Center near Edwardsville, selling small tracts of land to African American families. He also built a golf course for African Americans, possibly the first such course in the country (12). Although Groves was extremely wealthy, he was a servant at heart, he supported and mentored youth, he was a family man, a devoted husband, and he served as trustee for Western University in Quindaro, Kansas (13).

Watch: "Junius G. Groves: From Slave to Wealthy Potato King"