Hello from Goodland

GOODLAND

Photo by Roxie Yonkey

We did it.

We walked 20,349 to circle the globe from Goodland, Kansas, to Goodland, Kansas. And we did it all with the help of Kansans who picked up pedometers at Hometown Teams host and partner sites, counted their steps, tracked the number of minutes they exercised, and shared the results with KHC. In fact, KHC had so much participation that what started with a goal to walk to the Smithsonian turned into a goal to walk around the globe. And we did it.

But there’s more to do. The response has been so overwhelming that we have enough steps to keep going. And that’s just what we are going to do. Watch for KHC to keep going and try to circle the globe, this time going up and over the North Pole and back to Kansas. Can we do it before Hometown Teams closes in Humboldt on November 15th?

 

Walk to SmithsonianHelp KHC complete the walking goals on our list and join the walking movement. Download a Walking Scorecard to track your steps. Pick up a pedometer at Hometown Teams in Humboldt, opening on October 3rd, or at one of the participating Hometown Teams Partner Sites. Let’s show the world what Kansans can accomplish!

Thank you to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas Foundation for their support of Hometown Teams in Kansas and to Museum on Main Street and Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Services for their ongoing encouragement as we keep on walking. And very special thanks to all the Kansans from communities including Atchison, Colby, Effingham, Ellinwood, Glasco, Goodland, Greensburg, La Cygne, Lawrence, Oakley, Perry, and Topeka. Stay tuned to KHC on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest to view our progress.

Humanities Happenings: 10/02-10/04

johnson_sweattShow your hometown spirit for the sixth and final “Hometown Teams” host site and explore this weekend’s other other eight humanities events!

Humboldt: “Hometown Teams” Exhibit Opening
Experience the story of sports-the athletes, the coaches, and the fans who cheer them on-in “Hometown Teams,” a Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition. Get up close to memorable artifacts and view over 200 photographs highlighting Americans and their love of sports. Get into the game with “Minute for Movement” sports-inspired exercise stations designed to get you moving. Humboldt Historic Preservation Alliance’s companion exhibition, “Walter ‘The Big Train’ Johnson and George ‘The Teacher’ Sweatt” is also on display. October 3rd at Humboldt City Hall. Click here for details.

Lenexa: People of the Book
In Geraldine Brooks’ book, book restorer Hannah Heath’s project, the 500-year-old illuminated Sarajevo Haggedeh manuscript, is a repository of tragic episodes throughout human history: as a friend tells her, “this book has survived the same disaster over and over again,” referring to “this fear, this hate, this need to demonize ‘the other.'” As Heath unpacks the clues in the book that illuminate its history – an insect wing, a wine stain, a missing silver clasp-her life in Sarajevo at the end of the fratricidal Bosnian war enriches her own perspectives on humankind’s potential for violence and redemption. 372 pp. This book is from the TALK series “Entangled World.” TALK book discussion led by Beverly B. Mack. October 2nd at Lakeview Village Retirement Community at 2:00pm. Click here for details.

Wellington: Chisholm Trail Museum Archives Preservation
Learn about a multi-month preservation project to index, catalog, and rehouse much of the Chisholm Trail Museum’s photograph and document collection, improving access to researchers and to the general public. The open house event is part of the museum’s 50th anniversary celebration. October 3rd at Chisholm Trail Museum at 1:00pm. Click here for details.

Hanston: Football Homecoming
The public is invited to “Friday Night Lights, 8-Man Style,” a “Hometown Teams” partner site exhibit that documents the people and traditions that make eight-man football possible in rural Hodgeman County. Attendees are encouraged to share stories and view a special Hodgeman County “Hometown Teams” cookbook. Learn how food and tradition merge when it comes to sports. Sponsored by Hodgeman County Economic Development. October 3rd at Elk Plaza. Click here for details.

Newton: Community, Culture, and Softball
In the early 20th century when Mexico was at war with itself, hundreds of thousands of Mexicans left their homeland and migrated to the United States. In the Midwest and West, the railroad companies, meat packing industry, and mining operations vied for Mexican workers as an inexpensive labor force. As the Mexican populations grew in Kansas, so did projects to “Americanize” the children. Softball fields became the intended places to assimilate these kids, but instead the games became community spots where neighborhoods asserted their own unique identities. Gene T. Chavez, Speakers Bureau, will trace the development of Mexican American fast-pitch softball in the Sunflower State. October 3rd at Newton Public Library at 10:00am. Click here for details.

Derby: Prairie Music
Cowboy folksongs were more than entertainment on the lonely prairie: they told the story of a way of work that has since changed radically. Through trail-driving songs, night-herding songs, and bunkhouse/chuckwagon songs, cattle drovers produced a musical culture that still appeals to today’s ranchers who have traded their horses for four-wheelers and six-guns for cell phones. Join Jim Hoy, Speakers Bureau, as he discusses the important folk tradition of the prairie. Sponsored by Friends of Derby Public Library. October 3rd at Derby Public Library at 1:00pm. Click here for details.

Overland Park: El Almuerzo (The Lunch)
On May 5, 1976, the writer Haoldo Conti was kidnapped by the military dictatorship who took the government that year in Argentina. Two weeks after, Jorge Rafael Videla, the coup president, invites certain personalities of the National Culture; Jorge Luis Borges, Ernesto Sabato, Horacio Ratti, Father Castellani, and General of the Presidency, Gen Villarreal to a particular lunch at the Government House. Veronica Garibotto, Assistant Professor of Spanish & Portuguese at the University of Kansas, leads the film discussion. This event is part of the Latin American Cinema Festival XXIV, which features weekly films with topics that encourage a better understanding of Latino culture and traditions. Each film is introduced and discussed by a humanities scholar. All discussions are bilingual. Sponsored by Sociedad Hidalgo, Inc. October 3rd at Rio Theatre at 11:00am. Click here for details.

Dodge City: All the King’s Men
Robert Penn Warren was a novelist, but he thought of his work as a sort of history as well. “And what we students of history always learn is that the human being is a very complicated contraption and that they are not good or bad but are good and bad and the good comes out of the bad and the bad out of the good, and the devil take the hindmost.” The devil in question here is Huey Long, the notorious Louisiana governor who provided Warren a model for Willie Stark. 148 pp. This book is from the TALK series, “The 1930s.” TALK book discussion led by Linda M. Lewis. October 3rd at Dodge City Public Library at 4:00pm. Click here for details.

Seneca: F.J. Strathman Photography Collection Open House
The public is invited to learn about a multi-month project to preserve, organize, and digitize 300 glass-plate negatives from the studio of F.J. Strathman, an early 20th century photographer in Nemaha County. The open house event will feature a small display of images related to the project. October 4th at Nehmaha County Historical Society at 2:00pm. Click here for details.

For details about upcoming KHC-supported events, visit our calendar.

 

Wish NEH a Happy Anniversary on September 29th

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Be Part of a National Celebration
Wish NEH a Happy Anniversary at 12:00 PM CDT
on Social Media

September 29th marks the 50th anniversary of the National Endowment for the Humanities. NEH was created by the signing of the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act on September 29, 1965.

On Tuesday, September 29, there will be a virtual flashmob to wish NEH “Happy 50th Anniversary” on Twitter. Don’t have a Twitter account? You can also share on Facebook and Instagram. Here’s how you can participate:

On September 29 at 12:00 PM CDT/1:00 PM EDT, the Kansas Humanities Council is encouraging everyone to:

  1. Print out this template that reads “I love the humanities because…”
  2. Fill in why you love the humanities (in dark marker).
  3. Take a photo holding the sign.
  4. Post the photo on your Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram page using the hashtag #NEHturns50 and tag @NEHgov.

Here are some sample photos for inspiration:

example1 example2

Don’t have access to a printer?

  • Post on your Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram page wishing @NEHgov a happy 50th anniversary and use #NEHturns50.
  • Use this draft tweet: Happy anniversary @NEHgov, I love the humanities #NEHturns50

Don’t have a social media account?
Send your image to info(at)kansashumanities.org by 11:00 AM CDT on September 29th and KHC will schedule your tweet for you.

Click here for full instructions from NEH, including a place to sign up for a reminder email.

Please feel free to share this with others in your community who may want to participate.

Thank you and Happy Anniversary NEH!

 

 

A Tale of Two Players: Baseball Legends in Humboldt

This year, KHC features weekly posts related to the Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition Hometown Teams, currently touring Kansas.

George Sweatt won 3 Negro Leagues World Series Championships.  Image Courtesy Humboldt Historic Preservation Alliance.

George Sweatt won 3 Negro Leagues World Series Championships during his baseball career. Image Courtesy Humboldt Historic Preservation Alliance.

Most small towns will never produce even one famous athlete.

Humboldt, Kansas, can claim two.

The southeast Kansas community of about 2000 people is the hometown of two famous baseball players: Walter “Big Train” Johnson, one of the most revered pitchers of all time, and George “Sharkey” Sweatt, a combination infielder and outfielder known for his wicked hitting who played for the renowned Kansas City Monarchs of the National Negro League.

Humboldt is a town that loves its sports, and the community “is pleased as punch” to share the two men’s stories with a wider audience, said Humboldt Historic Preservation Alliance mentor Eileen Robertson.

Sweatt and Johnson share an incredible achievement. Each man won the World Series with his ball club. Sweatt and the Monarchs took the first-ever Negro League World Series, while Johnson’s Washington Senators won in his eighteenth year with team.

Even more incredibly, they won their respective World Series in the same year—1924.

But for Sweatt and Johnson, winning wasn’t everything. More than great ballplayers, both were well-known league gentlemen who took sportsmanship seriously, nurturing deep roots in their Kansas communities.

Sweatt was a devoted schoolteacher in Coffeyville, Kansas, south of Humboldt. If the baseball season overlapped with his teaching duties, there was no question which he would pick, according to this article by Mark Schremmer:

“Sweatt was kind of an academic and a ballplayer,” Negro League baseball historian and author Phil Dixon said. “He….would leave the team early enough so he could go teach. He was a tremendous individual.”

Johnson is also remembered for the polite disposition that accompanied the terrifying power of his arm. Sometimes he would even throw easier pitches to opposing players with low batting averages.

Walter Johnson was known for having one of the most fearsome pitches in baseball.  Image Courtesy National Photo Company Collection, via Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

Walter Johnson was known for having one of the most fearsome pitches in baseball. Image Courtesy National Photo Company Collection, via Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

Although the two men never played ball together, their shared origins in Humboldt link them together in baseball history. And the town thinks it’s important that their hometown heroes’ stories stick around.

“[The] HHPA knows that all history not promoted and preserved is lost,” Robertson said.

To keep that from happening, Humboldt set up a local baseball Hall of Fame with a display featuring photos, articles and memorabilia associated with the two men. Town teams play at both Walter Johnson Field (baseball and football) and at Sweatt Field (baseball), and monuments to both men stand at various locations throughout town.

While Johnson is better known, Sweatt has garnered renewed attention in recent years. Humboldt’s residents realize how easy it would be for him to remain in Johnson’s shadow, so the town is taking steps to publicize Sweatt’s rich history in the area.

He was the first African American letterman at what is now Pittsburg State University, where he was a talented track and field star, and a plaque marking the place of his birth is planned—fitting recognition for the man whose autobiography includes a dedication to “the older citizens of Humboldt, Kansas for accepting me for what I was and have become.”

Robertson said the HHPA hopes the exhibit will help viewers better see the connections between sports and the American spirit. It will be on display October 3 through November 15 alongside the Hometown Teams traveling Smithsonian exhibition at Humboldt City Hall. For more information, visit www.humboldtkansas.org.

Hello from San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO

Hello from San Francisco! We’ve walked 19,224 around the world and back to mainland USA! We’re closing in on our goal of returning to Kansas and completing our walk around the world as part of the Hometown Teams Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition. We’re happy to be in the city by the bay, and while the San Francisco Giants kept our beloved Kansas City Royals  from taking the World Series crown, we don’t hold a grudge. Hometown Teams has taught us a thing or two about being good sports!

Now, on to the final leg of the journey. Will we make it? There is still time to help!

You can track your steps with a Walking Scorecard. You can even pick up a pedometer to count your steps at the Hometown Teams Smithsonian exhibition in Perry (on display through September 27) and Humboldt (opening October 3), and at participating Hometown Teams partner sites.

Will we complete our journey? Follow KHC’s walking progress on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest for most Postcards from the Road.

Humanities Happenings: 09/25-09/27

 

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Enjoy the first weekend of fall by attending one of these great humanities events!

North Newton: Kansas City Monarchs
Formed in 1920, the Kansas City Monarchs revolutionized baseball: not only were they charter members of the Negro National League and the first professional team to use outdoor lighting, the Monarchs also sent more players to the major leagues than any other Negro League franchise. Phil S. Dixon, Speakers Bureau, explores the exciting early barnstorming days of the Monarchs, highlights great players such as Wilber “Bullet” Rogan, Satchel Paige, and Jackie Robinson who wore the uniform, and connects the spirit of the Monarchs to the many Kansas communities in which they played. Where possible, specific games and players from your community will be discussed. September 25th at Bethel College at 11:00am. Click here for details.

Iola: Keaton & the Marx Brothers
The 22nd Annual Buster Keaton Celebration is a two-day event that explores how comedic actors Buster Keaton and the Marx Brothers helped pioneer a new kind of humor in film. September 25th at Bowlus Fine Arts Center at 1:00pm. Click here for details.

Wichita: POSTDATE Discussion
Born in England and raised in India, Annu Palakunnathu Matthew, Director of the Center for the Humanities at the University of Rhode Island, will discuss how her research and photography represents her experience of living between cultures – England, India, and the United States. This discussion supports “POSTDATE: Photography and Inherited History of India,” a special exhibition exploring the 1947 partition of India. September 25th at Ulrich Museum of Art at 5:00pm. Click here for details.

Lucas: LID Off Film Festival
The public is invited to a three-day film festival that celebrates the creative work of grassroots film. As part of the festival, attendees will periodically view films derived from “Digitizing Kansas Grassroots Art Environment Videos,” a preservation project to transfer and digitally store thirty uncut video tapes featuring Kansas folk artists working in their home environments. Sponsored by Lucas Arts & Humanities Council. September 25th at Lucas Area Community Theater at 6:00pm. Click here for details.

 Cottonwood Falls: Baseball’s Backstories
John Dreifort, Professor of History at Wichita State University, explores baseball’s influences outside the field of play as well as the effect of external factors on the game. Learn about key issues such as demographics, communities, social mobility, race and ethnicity, baseball as a business, player-management relations, amateurs, gender, and international play. This “Hometown Teams” partner site event supports “Chase County: A League of Our Own,” a special exhibit that explores the baseball tradition in Chase County. Sponsored by Chase County Historical Society. September 26th at Chase County Historical Society at 1:00pm. Click here for details.

Glasco: Poet Laureate of Kansas™ Presentation
The Poet Laureate of Kansas promotes the humanities as a public resource for all Kansans with readings and discussions about poetry in communities across the state. Eric McHenry of Lawrence is the 2015-2017 Poet Laureate of Kansas. A nationally known poet and associate professor of English at Washburn University, his work has been featured in publications such as Poetry International, Slate, Yale Review, and Topeka Magazine, among many others. A fifth-generation Topeka native, Eric has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize for poetry seven times and received the Theodore Roethke Prize in 2011. His first book of poems, Potscrubber Lullabies, earned him the prestigious Kate Tufts Discovery Award in 2007, the largest American prize for a first book of poetry. September 26th at Glasco Community Foundation at 2:00pm. Click here for details.

Cawker City: Preservation Workshop
This preservation workshop, led by Cynthia Harris, Archivist at Kansas State University‘s Hale Library, is aimed at helping veterans and their families preserve material related to military service. This workshop supports “World War II Veterans Memorial Highway: A Tour of Remembrance, A Corridor of Service,” a preservation project to inventory veterans memorials and collections of veterans artifacts in museums along the route of US 24 designated as the World War II Veterans Memorial Highway. Funding is provided by KHC’s “The Things They Carried Home” grants initiative, with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Standing Together initiative. Sponsored by Solomon Valley-Hwy 24-Heritage Alliance. September 26th at Cawker City Public Library at 2:00pm. Click here for details.

Meade: Winter Wheat
In Mildred Walker’s book, eighteen-year-old Ellen Webb goes off to college – and falls in love. When she comes home for the summer to her beloved Montana wheat farm, she sees everything, including her parents, with new and critical eyes. 306 pp. This book is from the TALK series “Coming of Age in Rural America.” TALK book discussion led by Anne Hawkins. Sponsored by Friends of Meade Public Library. September 26th at Meade Public Library at 2:00pm. Click here for details.

Garden City: Dancing at the Rascal Fair
Ivan Doig’s saga of Scottish immigrants seeking ranch land in the Rocky Mountains is also the story of Angus McCaskill’s bittersweet quest to win the heart of Anna Ramsay. 400 pp. This book is from the TALK series “The Best of the West.” TALK book discussion led by Steven Foulke. September 26th at Finney County Public Library at 11:00am. Click here for details.

For upcoming KHC-supported humanities events, visit our calendar.

 

The Sweet Sounds of Success: Sports and Music

This year, KHC features weekly posts related to the Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition Hometown Teams, currently touring Kansas.

"Take Me Out to the Ball-Game" is one of the most instantly recognizable sports songs.  Image courtesy of KansasMemory, Kansas Historical Society, Copy and Reuse Restrictions Apply.

“Take Me Out to the Ball-Game” is one of the most instantly recognizable sports songs. Image courtesy of KansasMemory, Kansas Historical Society, Copy and Reuse Restrictions Apply.

From the marching band that takes the field at half time to the songs fans sing in the stands, music has been a key part of the sports experience in Kansas for a long time.

So when singer-songwriter Lorde revealed that she titled her smash hit “Royals” after a photo she’d seen of Kansas City Royals baseball player George Brett, it was just one more example of how music and sports often come together in surprising ways.

It makes sense: like sports, music taps into something deeply emotional in us. The joy of victory, the agony of defeat—both can be amplified by the right soundtrack.

Sports music tends to fall into two categories: songs that are about sports and songs that become associated with sports.

The first group features classics like “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” but it also features songs like Kenny Rogers’s “The Greatest” (baseball), Hank Williams, Jr.’s “Are You Ready for Some Football” (football, obviously), and Warren Zevon’s “Hit Somebody!” (hockey).

More common are the songs that, for whatever reason, we come to associate with sports. These are the songs that can be heard at games across Kansas, no matter what team you root for.

When the home team is down and all hope looks lost, Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” can keep the crowd going, even though its lyrics don’t have anything to do with sports. And defeating a rival feels even sweeter when the opponents leave the court to the sound of Steam’s “Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye),” even though song is about leaving a lover, not athletic glory.

New songs are added to this list all the time. Sporting KC supporters regularly belt out the chorus to Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes’ “Home,” another song that seems to have nothing do with sports.

Nothing, that is, until it’s being sung in unison by thousands of fans as a sign of support for the team they love.

Then the connection—and the melody—sound pretty clear.

Humanities Happenings: 09/18-09/20

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This has to be some kind of record! This weekend’s calendar is full of nearly a dozen humanities events!

North Newton: “From Football to Futbol”
The rise of the 2003 Garden City High School soccer team reflected demographic shifts in western Kansas. Join filmmaker Marlo Angell in a screening of her documentary, “From Football to Futbol,” followed by a discussion about the many ways immigration is changing sports and communities in Kansas today. Film running time is 15:42. Produced by Justicia, Inc. and Via Dolorosa Films. This event supports “Root for the Home Team: Building Community Through Sports” a “Hometown Teams” partner site exhibit sponsored by Bethel College. September 18th at Bethel College at 11:00am. Click here for details.

Lansing: Print & Patriotism
When the United States entered World War I in the spring of 1917, the civilian population was aware of the high casualty rates from trench warfare and the resulting low morale. It was necessary to inspire and inform people in ways that were both heroic and practical. Lorraine Madway, Speakers Bureau, will highlight posters, pamphlets, and sheet music that encouraged Americans to buy Liberty Bonds; raise, conserve, and send food to Europe; and promote the importance of books and libraries as a vital component of democracy. September 19th at Lansing Historical Museum at 2:00pm. Click here for details.

Augusta: Great Expectations
In Charles Dickens’ classic novel, orphaned Pip cultivates the rich Mrs. Havisham and beautifut Estella, and dreams that some day he’ll become a gentleman. An escaped convict threatens to shatter his dreams – or are his adventures just beginning? 525 pp. This book is from the TALK series, “British Classics.” TALK book discussion led by Dennis Etzel, Jr. September 19th at Augusta Public Library at 10:30am. Click here for details.

Overland Park: Viegos Amigos
Balo, Ricardo, Domingo and Kike have been friends since the day they were born eight decades ago in Peru’s El Callao neighborhood. In Viegos Amigos (Good Old Boys), fate delivers a cruel blow when Kike dies on the eve of the game that could lead their favorite soccer team to first place in the league. The now trio decides to steal Kike’s ashes and take them to the match, stopping first at some of their favorite youthful hangouts for one last hurrah. Karen Diaz Anchante, Assistant Professor of Modern Languages at Washburn University, leads the film discussion. The screening and discussion are part of the Latin American Cinema Festival XXIV, which features weekly films with topics that encourage a better understanding of Latino culture and traditions. Each film is introduced and discussed by a humanities scholar. All discussions are bilingual. Sponsored by Sociedad Hidalgo, Inc. September 19th at Rio Theatre at 11:00am. Click here for details.

Leavenworth: Poet Laureate of Kansas™ Presentation
The Poet Laureate of Kansas promotes the humanities as a public resource for all Kansans with readings and discussions about poetry in communities across the state. Eric McHenry of Lawrence is the 2015-2017 Poet Laureate of Kansas. A nationally known poet and Associate Professor of English at Washburn University, his work has been featured in publications such as Poetry International, Slate, Yale Review, and Topeka Magazine, among many others. A fifth-generation Topeka native, Eric has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize for poetry seven times and received the Theodore Roethke Prize in 2011. His first book of poems, Potscrubber Lullabies, earned him the prestigious Kate Tufts Discovery Award in 2007, the largest American prize for a first book of poetry. September 19th at Leavenworth Public Library. Click here for details.

Wellington: Harvey Girls
The Fred Harvey Company not only hired recent immigrants to work in their famous Harvey House restaurants, they actively recruited them. Eventually African-American workers became a part of the workforce, and during World War II American Indians and Mexican Americans were hired as well. This restaurant work along the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe railroad lines provided reputable work for women who had few choices in the workforce. Michaeline Chance-Reay, Speakers Bureau, will explore the job duties and working conditions of Harvey Girls from 1876 to the early 1950s. September 19th at Wellington Public Library at 1:00pm. Click here for details. 

Topeka: “VOICES & VISIONS: A Socio-Historical Perspective”
A panel of scholars examine issues raised in “Visions of Right,” a theatrical performance that explores personal identity, ethics, and tolerance. Moderated by Tom Prasch, Professor of History at Washburn University. The discussion immediately follows a 7:30 pm performance of “Visions of Right.” Panel discussion is free and open to the public. This event is part of “VOICES AND VISIONS: A Community Discussion Inspired by VISIONS OF RIGHT,” a series of public programs that examine the social issues connected to the play. Sponsored by Ad Astra Theatre Ensemble. September 19th at Warehouse 414 at 9:30pm. Click here for details.

Perry: “The Common & Quirky Mascots of Kansas”
They come in all shapes, sizes, and colors and are some of the most recognizable characters of our state: the mascots of Kansas! From the most recognizable, like the KU Jayhawk and the K-State Wildcat, to the more obscure Fowler High School Goldbugs and the Hill City Ringnecks, Jordan Poland, Speakers Bureau, discusses the history and pageantry of Kansas mascots. Explore with us the unique, historical ties that many sports mascots have to their communities before playing the state’s newest and greatest trivia game, “Name that Kansas Mascot!” Sponsored by Perry Pride. September 20th at Highland Community College, Perry Center at 2:00pm. Click here for details.

Topeka: Mama Day
Gloria Naylor’s book is set on the Georgia sea island of Willow Springs, where people still use only herbal medicine and honor ancestors who came over as slaves. Matriarch Mama Day, who can call up lightning storms and see secrets in her dreams, tests her powers when her great-niece, a stubbornly emancipated woman, finds her life and soul in danger from the island’s darker forces. 311 pp. This book is from the TALK series, “Community: The Way We Live.” TALK book discussion led by Thomas Prasch. September 20th at Aldersgate Village at 3:00pm. Click here for details.

Independence: Preservation Project
The public is invited to the opening of a special exhibit that features photographs and material from veterans who served with the 1011th Quartermaster Company, US Army Reserve, during deployments to Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. This exhibit supports “The 1011th -A Story of Service Throughout the Years,” a project to collect and preserve the images of veterans. Funding is provided by KHC’s “The Things They Carried Home” grants initiative, with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Standing Together initiative. Sponsored by RSVP Four County. September 20th at Independence Historical Museum and Art Center at 1:30pm. Click here for details.

Topeka: “VOICES & VISIONS: An Artist’s Perspective”
A panel of scholars examine issues raised in “Visions of Right,” a theatrical performance that explores personal identity, ethics, and tolerance. Moderated by Marguerite Perret, Professor of Art at Washburn University. The discussion immediately follows a 2:00pm performance of “Visions of Right.” Panel discussion is free and open to the public. This event is part of “VOICES AND VISIONS: A Community Discussion Inspired by VISIONS OF RIGHT,” a series of public programs that examine the social issues connected to the play. Sponsored by Ad Astra Theatre Ensemble. September 20th at Warehouse 414 at 4:00pm. Click here for details.

Keep up with upcoming KHC-supported events by visiting our calendar.

 

Values and Victories in Smith Center

This year, KHC features weekly posts related to the Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition Hometown Teams, currently touring Kansas.

Joe Drape's Our Boys told the story of Smith Center's winning football team and became a national bestseller.  Image Courtesy Meredith Wiggins.

Joe Drape’s Our Boys told the story of Smith Center’s winning football team and became a national bestseller. Image Courtesy Meredith Wiggins.

Most small-town athletes are big fish in a small pond. Their triumphs and failures may be common knowledge, but usually only within a certain geographic area.

But a few years ago, the high school football team in Smith Center, Kansas, got a taste of what it’s like to have a much bigger audience when journalist Joe Drape profiled the team for the New York Times.

When the story ran in November 2007, the team was riding a 51-game winning streak in pursuit of their fourth consecutive state championship. They would achieve that and more, winning a fifth state championship and coming heartbreakingly close to a sixth as they compiled a streak of 79 consecutive victories.

Drape’s story about the astonishingly successful team from north-central Kansas resonated with NYT readers. He followed up with a best-selling 2009 book, Our Boys: A Perfect Season on the Plains with the Smith Center Redmen.

But as much as readers thrilled to every Smith Center victory, it was the lessons about determination, drive and accountability that really struck a chord with Drape’s wider audience.

The driving force behind those lessons was Smith Center football coach Roger Barta, who tallied more than 300 wins over a 34-year career. For Barta, though, the wins came second to the message—something he made clear in Drape’s original article:

“None of this is really about football,” [Barta] added. “We’re going to get scored on eventually, and lose a game, and that doesn’t mean anything. What I hope we’re doing is sending kids into life who know that every day means something.”

It’s a testament to the strength of that message that when Smith Center finally lost a game—the state championship, in overtime—the team was able to walk away with their heads held high.

Like so many other great sports stories, Our Boys was never just a story about a good football team. It was a reminder about what sports, at their best, can be: an opportunity to instill the kinds of values that define the promise of America.

Humanities Happenings: 09/11-09/13

POSTDATE The Native Types -- Yogini (after a 16th-century Deccani painting). © Pushpamala N., 2001. Image courtesy of the Ulrich Museum of Art.

From POSTDATE:  The Native Types — Yogini (after a 16th-century Deccani painting). © Pushpamala N., 2001. Image courtesy of the Ulrich Museum of Art.

Five Kansas communities, – La Cygne, Wichita, Overland Park, Dodge City, and Meade– are ready for you to attend their humanities events this weekend. Plus, don’t forget about all the Hometown Teams activities happening, including the Smithsonian exhibition in Perry and the Hometown Teams Partner Site activities in Cottonwood Falls, Eudora, Larned, North Newton, and Wamego.

La Cygne: Friday Night Football
The public is invited to commemorate the 1970 La Cygne High football state championship team. Listen to radio broadcast and film footage from the game. Afterwards, join community members for a Prairie View High School football game, where they attempt to break an attendance record set in 1970. This event supports “What Binds Our Community Together? It’s Hometown Teams!,” a special exhibit sponsored by the LaCygne Historical Society, a “Hometown Teams,”  Partner Site. September 11th at Linn County Library District 2 at 5:00pm. Click here for details.

Wichita: Evolution of the Soda Fountain
Relive the glory days of the soda fountain where tonics and curatives evolved into refreshments like the Brown Cow, the Mudslide, and the Egg Cream. Government regulations, World War I luxury taxes, and bottled soda pop prompted Kansas pharmacists to make more ice cream concoctions and add food to keep their evolving fountain sideline business profitable. Cindy Higgins, Speakers Bureau, also explores soda fountains in Kansas today and the revival of soda fountains throughout the nation. You can even enjoy an old-fashioned root beer float after the program. September 12th at Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum at 2:00pm. Click here for details.

Overland Park: Luna Escondida
In Luna Escondida (Hidden Moon), the son (Wes Bentley) of a wealthy man whose funeral is disrupted by the presence of a mysterious Latin American woman (Ana Serradilla), sets out to salvage his family’s reputation by figuring out the exact nature of the woman’s relationship with his deceased father. His search brings him all the way down to Mexico, where he’s shocked to find that while uncovering her identity, he has also fallen in love with a woman who belongs to someone else. Tamara Falicov, Associate Professor of Film & Media Studies at the University of Kansas, leads the film discussion. The screening and discussion are part of the Latin American Cinema Festival XXIV, which features weekly films with topics that encourage a better understanding of Latino culture and traditions. Each film is introduced and discussed by a humanities scholar. All discussions are bilingual. Sponsored by Sociedad Hidalgo, Inc. September 12th at Rio Theatre at 11:00am. Click here for details.

Wichita: POSTDATE
The public is invited to the opening of “POSTDATE: Photography and Inherited History in India,” an exhibition that explores the 1947 partition of India. Gallery talk provided by guest curator Jodi Throckmorton, Curator of Contemporary Art at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Hear a selection of recorded audio stories from the 1947 Partition Archive and enjoy South Asian music and dance performances. Exhibit on display through December 13th. September 12th at Ulrich Museum of Art at 3:00pm. Click here for details.

Dodge City: The Day of the Locust
“It is hard to laugh at the need for beauty and romance, no matter how tasteless, even horrible, the results of that need are. But it is easy to sigh,” declares Tod, the narrator of Nathanael West’s Hollywood satire. Tod is a painter, but his work is background and costumes; aspiration rather than achievement defines him. His painting, The Burning of Los Angeles, foreshadows the novel’s violent climax. 126 pp. This book is from the TALK series, “The 1930s.” William Clyde Brown leads the TALK book discussion. September 12th at Dodge City Public Library at 4:00pm. Click here for details.

Meade: Farmer Boy
While author Laura Ingalls Wilder grew up in the little house on the prairie, Almanzo Wilder was living on a big farm in New York state. With chores from dawn to dinner, but plenty of time for fun, Almanzo’s childhood is a celebration of the self-sufficient family farm. 372 pp. This book is from the TALK series, “Coming of Age in Rural America.” Rachel Waltner Goosen leads the TALK book discussion. Sponsored by Friends of Meade Public Library. September 12th at Meade Public Library at 2:00pm. Click here for details.

For information about KHC-supported events this fall, visit our calendar.