Fire From the Sky

This summer, KHC features daily posts about the speakers and topics in the Humanities catalog. Today’s featured presentation is “Fire From the Kansas Sky: The Piatt Street Plane Crash of 1965” by D.W. Carter.

Piatt Street Memorial, Wichita. Image via City of Wichita.

Piatt Street Memorial, Wichita. Image via City of Wichita.

On a cold Saturday morning in 1965, an Air Force KC-135 tanker carrying 31,000 gallons of jet fuel crashed into a congested African American neighborhood in Wichita. When the fire subsided, 47 people, mostly children, were dead or injured, several homes were destroyed, and families were splintered. “This tragedy touched so many people through various socioeconomic lines,” says KHC scholar D.W. Carter.

The accident is also rarely mentioned in Kansas history discussions today. “By remembering and retelling the story, we are providing much needed healing to those who were affected,” says Carter. His presentation, “Fire From the Kansas Sky: The Piatt Street Plane Crash of 1965,” explores why the plane crashed, how the community responded, and how race relations in Wichita were further strained because of the disaster.

D.W. Carter

D.W. Carter

D.W. Carter is a historian, best-selling author, and educator specializing in military and social history. Originally from Elizabethtown, Kentucky, Carter was stationed at McConnell Air Force Base in 2003 and now considers himself a Kansan

You can bring D.W. Carter’s “Fire From the Kansas Sky: The Piatt Street Plane Crash of 1965” or one of the other presentations in the Humanities catalog to your community for FREE with a Resource Center Support Grant. It’s quick and easy! Visit the Speakers Bureau page to get started or contact Leslie Von Holten, director of programs, at leslie(at)kansashumanities.org for more information.