Humanities Happenings 2/26-2/27

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(L to R) Vice President Richard M. Johnson and homesteaders in Nicodemus. Both images via Library of Congress.

Engage your mind with cultural opportunities this weekend. From Nicodemus’ connection to a vice president, early Latino American immigrants to the U.S., Title IX legislation and Kansas’ female athletes, the Kansas City Monarchs, and exhibitions exploring race and civil rights, the last weekend in February has a lot of humanities experiences to offer.

Coffeyville: The Nicodemus Connection to a Vice President

Before homesteading as free men in the African American settlement of Nicodemus, Kansas, Tom Johnson and John Samuels were enslaved by U.S. Vice President Richard M. Johnson (1837-1841) and his daughter Imogene Pence. Angela O. Bates’ Speakers Bureau presentation follows Tom and Johns’ journey from enslavement in Kentucky to freedom experienced in an all-Black town. February 27 at 2:00 PM at Coffeyville Public Library. Details here

Dodge City: Empire of Dreams (1880-1942)

The Dodge City Public Library presents the second screening and discussion in the Latino Americans: 500 Years of History film series. “Empire of Dreams (1880-1942)” explores the beginning of widespread immigration to the United States from Latin American countries — first with a small group from Cuba, then a larger one from Mexico. Valerie Mendoza includes local history in the post-film discussion with the story of the Mexican laborers who arrived in Dodge City with the railroad. February 27 at 4:00 PM. Details here.

Park City Public Library: Title IX and Female Athletes in Kansas

Although the wording of the Title IX education amendment in brief, its impact revolutionized sports by demanding equal sports opportunities for female student athletes. With fair access to facilities, coaches, equipment, and practice time, many Kansas athletes were able to overcome gender stereotypes and excel in track and field, basketball, target shooting, and other sports, sometimes even reaching Olympic heights. Laura Hartley’s Speakers Bureau presentation explores the history of Title IX and highlights remarkable female athletes from Kansas. February 27 at 7:00 PM at Park City Public Library. Details here.

Leavenworth: The Kansas City Monarchs in Our Hometown

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’s Speakers Bureau presentation 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. February 28 at 2:00 PM at Leavenworth Public Library. Details here.

Colby: Sorting Out Race

The “Sorting Out Race” exhibition continues its look at race and racial identity through thrift store objects at the Prairie Museum of Art and History through March 31. Details here. A companion exhibition at the Pioneer Memorial Library explores the topic through objects from local antique and thrift stores through March 16. Details here. Supported by a KHC Humanities grant.

Wichita: Freedom to Expand

Two exhibitions at the Wichita Art Museum, “Gordon Parks: Back to Fort Scott” and “Freedom Now: Photographs of the Civil Rights Struggle,” feature the work of Kansas-native Gordon Parks, one of the most celebrated artists of his time. Supported by a KHC Humanities grant. Through May 8. Details here.

Find more cultural events in Kansas on KHC’s Calendar of Events.

Humanities Happenings 2/20-2/21

Dodge City’s Latino Americans: 500 Years of History event is just one of the KHC-supported humanities events exploring cultural heritage, civil rights, and racial identity this weekend in Kansas.

Dodge City: Foreigners in Their Own Land

A screening and discussion of the film “Foreigners in Their Own Land (1565-1880),” part of the Latino Americans: 500 Years of History series.  One hundred years after Columbus’ arrival in the Caribbean, Spanish Conquistadors and Priests pushed into North America in search of gold and to spread Catholicism. Valerie Mendoza leads a post-film discussion exploring Coronado’s expedition through the region that now includes Dodge City. The event is supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association. Saturday, February 20 at 4:00 PM at Dodge City Public Library. Details here.

Wichita: Topeka’s Greatest Trial: The Brown v. Board of Education Story

In the fall of 1950, Oliver Brown tried to enroll his seven-year-old daughter, Linda, at nearby Sumner Elementary, their neighborhood school, but she was refused entrance because she was African American. D.W. Carter’s Speakers Bureau presentation tells the local story and events leading up to Brown’s involvement in the class action lawsuit, including direct testimony from the 1951 trial that was first argued in downtown Topeka. Saturday, February 20 at 1:00 PM at Alford Branch, Wichita Public Library. Sponsored by Wichita Genealogical Society. Details here.

Colby: Sorting Out Race

The “Sorting Out Race” exhibition continues its look at race and racial identity through thrift store objects at the Prairie Museum of Art and History through March 31. Details here. A companion exhibition at the Pioneer Memorial Library explores the topic through objects from local antique and thrift stores through March 16. Details here. Supported by a KHC Humanities grant.

Wichita: Freedom to Expand

Two exhibitions at the Wichita Art Museum, “Gordon Parks: Back to Fort Scott” and “Freedom Now: Photographs of the Civil Rights Struggle,” feature the work of Kansas-native Gordon Parks, one of the most celebrated artists of his time. Supported by a KHC Humanities grant. Through May 8. Details here.

Find more cultural events in Kansas on KHC’s Calendar of Events.

The Pulitzer Project in Kansas: William Allen White and Freedom of Speech


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Kansas Humanities Council
Request for Partners
Deadline: 5 PM Monday, March 14, 2016
Click here for guidelines and application

In 1922, William Allen White published “To An Anxious Friend,” an impassioned defense of the freedom of speech. For this he won the Pulitzer Prize, the first Kansan to do so. To celebrate 100 years of the Pulitzer Prizes and commemorate White’s call to protect free expression, the Kansas Humanities Council is planning a series of events that explore the importance of free speech in today’s society.

KHC will partner with up to 12 nonprofit organizations in Kansas to host keynote lectures and/or panel discussions by experts exploring issues related to freedom of speech, the life of William Allen White, and democracy today. Selected organizations will have the opportunity to host a follow-up writing workshop led by a trained workshop facilitator.

The Pulitzer Project in Kansas: William Allen White and Freedom of Speech is intended to support grassroots organizations interested in:

  • Examining the history and impact of free speech events in Kansas
  • Increasing understanding of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution
  • Commemorating the role of William Allen White in Kansas history and the impact of the Pulitzer Prizes in journalism and the arts
  • Increasing civic engagement with the citizens in your community

KHC invites museums, historical societies, public libraries, art centers, community organizations, colleges and universities, and other nonprofit cultural and civic organizations to apply for this special opportunity. All events must be free and accessible to the general public.

Click here for complete guidelines and application. Contact Leslie Von Holten, director of programs, at leslie(at)kansashumanities.org for more information.

The Kansas Humanities Council was awarded at $20,000 Pulitzer Prizes Centennial Campfires Initiative award to make these events available in Kansas. The Campfires Initiative is a joint venture of the Pulitzer Prizes Board and the Federation of State Humanities Councils in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Pulitzer Prizes.

Humanities Happenings 2/5-2/7

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“Sorting Out Race” is on exhibit at the Prairie Museum of Art and History in Colby through March.

Want to include some culture in your weekend plans? KHC has you covered with book discussions, museum exhibitions, and more.

Colby: Sorting Out Race

This traveling exhibition from the Kauffman Museum uses thrift store objects to explore race and racial identity. On display through March 31 at the Prairie Museum of Art and History. Supported by a KHC Humanities grant.  Details here. 

Lenexa: The Milagro Beanfield War

When feisty Joe Mondragon decides to irrigate his bean crop with “stolen” water, the drags the neighbors in his New Mexico village into a hilarious battle to save their community. Marilyn E. Klaus leads the TALK discussion of John Nichols’ book at 10:30 AM on February 5th at Lakeview Village Retirement Community. Details here. 

Topeka: Charlotte’s Web

E. B. White’s gentle story of Wilbur the pig and his loyal spider friend, Charlotte, unfolds amidst the nostalgia of the barnyard, the changing seasons, and the pains and rewards of growing up. Rachel Waltner Goossen leads the TALK book discussion at 2:30 PM on February 5th at Aldersgate Village. Details here.

Stafford: The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton

Set mostly in the Kansas Territory shortly before the Civil War, narrator Lydia “Lidie”Harkness recounts her adventures while disguised as a boy, reporting for a proslavery newspaper, and helping a woman escape a plantation. Dana Waters leads the TALK discussion of Jane Smiley’s book at 1:30 PM on February 7 at Stafford County Historical & Genealogical Society. Details here.

Kinsley: The Czechs in Wilson, Kansas

Karen Kapusta-Pofahl of Washburn University presents on the Czech immigrants from Bohemia who settled the town of Wilson in 1874. After the presentation, see a demonstration of Czech egg painting. Greta Clark of Dodge County Community College will also discuss contemporary immigration to southwest Kansas. Part of “The Kansas Mosaic: Ethnic Settlement in Central and Western Kansas” series supported by a KHC Humanities grant. 2:00 PM on February 7 at Kinsley Public Library. Details here. 

More events available on KHC Calendar of Events.