Wichita State filmmakers explore aftermath, trauma of 1965 plane crash

The black granite memorial in Piatt Park describes the tragedy of January 1965 and lists the names of those who died in the predominately Black neighborhood.

For Dr. Kevin Harrison, director of diversity, equity and inclusion for the Cohen Honors College, the story of that day is one that deserves more discussion and examination to understand.

Harrison grew up in the Wichita neighborhood around 20th and Piatt Street, less than a mile from campus. The memorial park marks the site where a U.S. Air Force Boeing KC-135 refueling tanker crashed, shortly after takeoff on the morning Jan. 19, 1965. The crash and resulting explosion and fires caused the deaths of 30 people, numerous injuries and the destruction of 10 homes. According to news reports, around 31,000 gallons of jet fuel covered the area with flames and smoke.