The Buckner-Barker Family Papers pertain to several generations of an African American family with multi-generational ties to Kansas. The collection consists mostly of typescripts of poems authored by John L. Buckner, but also contains photographs, newspaper clippings, a privately published book of poems by John D. Barker, son-in-law of John L. Buckner, as well as an interview and other documents that relate the family history.
The collection includes a small number of newspaper clippings through several generations of the family. Photographs include those of Almeda Phillips, Lynette Buckner, John L. Buckner, and John and Eva Barker, taken around the time of their 70th wedding anniversary and during the wedding of their daughter Theresa to artist Hale Woodruff. Two family photographs are also present. The history of the family is provided in two documents. The first is a transcript of an interview with Allena Carey, daughter of John D. Barker, who discusses the story of her great-great grandmother, Lamoneha, and her abduction and transport to the United States as part of the international slave trade, as well as the lives of various generations of the family in Kentucky and Kansas. The second document is a typescript of "records written by Robert J. Buckner" regarding the history of the Buckner Family. The materials allow insight into African-American life in Kansas, from the late nineteenth century through the mid-twentieth century. Recollections of the Topeka flood of 1903 are included.
The unpublished epic and short poems of John L. Buckner are also included in this collection as typescripts and hand scripts. Buckner’s themes include the Haitian Revolution, African-American history and historical figures, temperance, and his Christian faith. Although self-educated, Buckner's poems portray an accomplished poetic mind and style. In addition, privately published book of poems by Buckner's son-in-law, John D. Barker, is also present.