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Unity & Diversity Campaign


The Boiler Room Brewhaus, LLC

Barbara Ritter, Owner



The Boiler Room Brewhaus, in collaboration with The Jolly Fox Brewery and The Gordon Parks Museum Announces the Launch of The“U&D Ale” Fundraising Campaign, benefiting the Gordon Parks High School.

Fort Scott, Kansas – The Boiler Room Brewhaus is excited to announce the launch of U&D Ale.  In close collaboration with The Jolly Fox Brewery and The Gordon Parks Museum we are creating a beer to help bridge the divide created by the death of George Floyd.  Protesters, angered by Floyd’s death, took to the streets. Some smashed the windows of shops and other businesses and made off with merchandise. Arsonists, perhaps at the scene only to cause mayhem, set buildings on fire. The next day St. Paul Pioneer Press reported that 170 businesses were looted or burned on the evening of May 28 and the early morning of May 29. One of those “businesses” was Gordon Parks High School.

Fort Scott, Kansas and Minneapolis / St. Paul, Minnesota both have a connection to Gordon Parks and that was the inspiration of U&D Ale. 

U&D Ale and The Fundraising Campaign, will launch Wednesday October, 14th 2020

After seeing the iconic photograph by Deveonte Joseph that Nathan Aguirre created on a street corner in St. Paul, Minnesota months ago, owner Barbara Ritter was so moved, she decided to research the story in more detail and read that one of the buildings damaged was that of Gordon Parks High School. Ritter said, “Seeing that young man in his cap and gown in front of those damaged buildings, made me so sad for him and all the kids.”  Ritter whose brewery is located in Fort Scott, Kansas which was the boyhood home to Gordon Parks, immediately recognized the schools name as a familiar one.  After realizing the connection between the two cities, Ritter started thinking of ways to help the kids.  She contacted the Gordon Parks Museum in Fort Scott and asked if she could help the kids to rebuild the damage.  The curator for the museum , Kirk Sharp, connected her with the high school and she asked them for permission to create a fundraising beer from her brewery and they were excited and welcomed the help.  As it turns out, much of the damage was covered by insurance, however there still remains a great need for resources.  Ritter said, “Those kids may not even know about Fort Scott, Kansas and how proud we are to be the boyhood home of their namesake, but they will when we complete this campaign.” After mentioning her fundraising idea to another brewery in a neighboring city, The Jolly Fox Brewery agreed to help the kids too.  So, on October 14th The Boiler Room Brewhaus, The Jolly Fox Brewery and The Gordon Parks Museum will launch U&D Ale.  U&D stands for unity and diversity, a name that the school so brilliantly came up with.  A substantial portion of all proceeds from the sale of the beer will be gifted to the high school.  Ritter hopes that the kids will be able to use the funds to do something positive and fun, while connecting our two cities.

The U&D Ale Campaign for Gordon Parks High School, will kick off at the Boiler Room Brewhaus located at 2 South National Ave. Fort Scott October 14th at 6:30 pm, with an evening of craft beer, hors d’oeuvres and a brief discussion about the campaign.  All invited guests will receive a commemorative pint glass that has the high schools design etched with the words, “Unity And Diversity. 

In the words of Gordon Parks, “I’ve been asked if I think there will ever come a time when all people come together. I would like to think there will. All we can do is hope and dream and work toward that end. And that’s what I’ve tried to do all my life.”

About The Boiler Room Brewhaus:  Since its inception in 2017 and subsequent opening on January 7th of 2018, the Brewhaus has been committed to providing great, small batch, craft beer to our community.  The Brewhaus, located on the busy intersection of Wall St. and National Ave in Fort Scott, KS occupies the historic Downtowner motor lodge.  Fort Scotts first and only microbrewery, prides itself on great tasting beer, exceptional customer service and community involvement.  The brewery is owned by Barbara Ritter and her husband Bryan is the Brewer, both U.S. Navy veterans.

About The Jolly Fox Brewery:  The Jolly is a new brewery and restaurant located in Pittsburg, Kansas, that prides itself on quality craft beer, served with a delicious selection of unique menu items.  Come for the great beer and food, stay for the welcoming atmosphere, staff and patio fun.

About The Gordon Parks Museum: The mission of the Gordon Parks Museum is to honor the life and work of Gordon Parks, internationally-known photographer, filmmaker, writer, and musician; and to use his remarkable life story to teach about artistic creativity, cultural awareness, and the role of diversity in our lives.   After Gordon Parks attended the first ever Gordon Parks Celebration in 2004, he gifted the Gordon Parks Center with 30 of his photographs. This spectacular group includes many of his iconic works such as American Gothic, Tuskegee Airmen, Flavio, Ali Sweating, Ingrid Bergman on Stromboli and many others.

In 2006, after his death, his personal effects and other memorabilia, per Gordon’s wishes, were given to the Museum. This valuable collection included many of his awards and medals, personal photos, paintings and drawings of Gordon, plaques, certificates, diplomas and honorary doctorates, selected books and articles, clothing, record player, tennis racquet, magazine articles, his collection of Life magazines and much more.

Since that time, more gifts have been given by his family and friends such as his camera, gifted by his daughter Toni Parks; his film camera and tripod, donated by his son David Parks; a collection of photographs of Gordon donated by Patricia DuBose Duncan, and much more. These gifts have made this collection substantive and significant and we are proud of Gordon’s faith in us to preserve and protect his legacy.

About Gordon Parks High School:  St. Paul native Gordon Parks’ life and work as a photographer, film-maker, writer, and civil rights activist provides us with a model for the kind of thoughtful, active, and successful citizens we are dedicated to helping our students become.

We offer flexible programming, media-infused courses and curriculum, a supportive advisory program to help keep our students on track for graduation, and a host of community partnerships, internships, and job support activities for our students. We are a small, orderly, and friendly school where it is impossible for students to be invisible or to get lost in the shuffle.

Gordon Parks staff are specialists in providing students with hope and possibility through a rigorous curriculum. Students can fulfill state and district graduation standards requirements in many ways—from studying Documentary Film and nonfiction writing with our English department, to hands-on applied experiences in Algebra and Chemistry and community-based art, social studies, and environmental studies programs. Just to name a few!

At Gordon Parks, students are expected to practice thinking in real ways as a part of their daily experience school experience. We expect them to be full participants in their own educations and to take themselves and their possibilities seriously. The bottom line is that effort makes the difference. As the great American poet Maya Angelou writes, “Nothing works unless you work.”

At Gordon Parks we work together to make it work for our students.