Unlocking Our Past, the Key to Our Future ™

Keynote Speakers

Jay Ashcroft, Secretary of State

Jay Ashcroft is Missouri’s 40th Secretary of State, serving areas such as business, investor protection, operating the State Library and State Archives, and as the State’s Chief Elections Official.

Secretary Ashcroft earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering management from Missouri University of Science and Technology, and is a graduate of St. Louis University School of Law. He holds multiple certifications in the challenging arena of citizen privacy and data protection, essential to securing our state’s elections. Secretary Ashcroft’s vision includes rebuilding confidence in our elections, restoring relationships with local election authorities, and working to streamline our business laws and reduce government red tape to attract new jobs in Missouri.

Jay and his wife Katie have four children, three sons and one daughter.

Jay will be the Friday morning keynote speaker.

Phil S. Dixon, Author/Historian

For more than thirty-five years, author/historian Phil S. Dixon has recorded African-American baseball with a vast array of creativity and historical accuracy. He has written numerous books on baseball and is widely regarded for his expertise on baseball history. He won the prestigious Casey Award for the Best Baseball Book of 1992 and later received a SABR (Society of American Baseball Researchers) MacMillan Award for his excellence as a researcher along with a host of other honors and awards. His contributions to baseball can be found on the backs of baseball cards, in award winning books and nationally recognized documentaries. He has appeared on PBS History Detectives, C-span, BET, Fox Sports, National Public Radio, the Canadian Broadcasting System, SiriusXM Radio and other national broadcast media.

In his hometown community Dixon served as an inner city baseball coach for over twenty-five years, and as an advisor to Kansas City’s RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) youth baseball program. He is a co-founder and current board member for the Negro League Baseball Museum in Kansas City where he served as the museum’s first Public Relations officer. In professional sports, Dixon formerly worked in the Public Relations office of the American League Kansas City Royals – he is a walking encyclopedia of baseball history in general, and most knowledgeable about African-Americans in baseball. In addition to these activities, he is an excellent speaker who routinely presents at Colleges, Universities, civic events, corporations and educational activities.

Among active speakers on the History of the Negro Leagues/baseball he is prolific. In January of 2014, Mr. Dixon began a tour of 90 cities where the once famous Kansas City Monarchs and other African-American teams and players barnstormed. His goal was to spread goodwill and heal racial relationships through baseball history in the places where it actually occurred. In 2014-2015 alone, he Dixon visited 13 states, which included an international visit to Saskatchewan Canada, presented in 98 cities and logged over 35,000 miles by car – he refuses to fly to any destination. He completed the 90 city tour; but demand for his presentation continued. The tour has now surpassed 150 cities. Dixon is seeking a total of 200 cities visited in four years before it ends in 2017. His presentation is titled, “The Kansas City Monarchs in our Hometown.”

Dixon is currently featured in two award winning documentaries “First Boys of Spring” released in 2015 and “Kansas Town Teams, Bigger Than Baseball,” released in 2016. He is a speaker for the Kansas Humanities Council and the Missouri Humanities Council. Dixon is a graduate of the University of Missouri at Kansas City and lives outside of Kansas City, Missouri with wife Dr. Kerry Dixon and children.

Dixon will be the Saturday morning keynote speaker.

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