Kansas 250

On July 4, 2026, America celebrates its semi-quincentennial, the commemoration of the 250-year anniversary since the signing of the Declaration of Independence. In Kansas, we will celebrate America turning 250 years old by sharing the triumphs and the difficulties Kansans faced when settling in the heartland.

“Ad Astra Per Aspera,” to the Stars through Difficulties, is Kansas’ state motto.  It was these difficulties that made Kansas a state of strong people who farm and cultivate the Great Plains to champion equality through the underground railroad and pivotal court cases like Brown vs. the Topeka Board of Education.  Kansas has been at the forefront of many historical movements.

As America marks its 250th anniversary it is a time to honor the contributions of Kansas and the individuals who have shaped our history.   It is through these difficulties and differences that Kansans can unite and share their stories to celebrate the growth, humility, and strengths that makes Kansas a great state; where we can inspire future generations to continue building a better, more inclusive society.

Many Kansans are familiar with the state motto, “Ad Astra Per Aspera,” or “To the stars, through difficulties.” Much is made of the beginning, “Ad Astra”. It is ambitious and forward-thinking. The phrase invokes victories and celebrations. We at Kansas 250 embrace that aspirational message as we gather stories of those who settled in our state. Here, we find a reoccurring theme – living in Kansas has involved difficulties. It did not matter to the land or the climate if one was of Indigenous, European, African, Asian, or Latin descent; Kansas was a great equalizer.

From the era of Bleeding Kansas in the 1850s through today, the story of Kansas is one of people who endured and persevered through many challenges.

Now we want to hear your story, your history here in Kansas. We want to hear how you and yours made it THROUGH the difficulties to thrive where you are today. Join us as we celebrate all the different threads that wind together to form the beautiful tapestry that is Kansas as we continue into the future, “Per Aspera”.

Kansas 250 Commission