To An Anxious Friend

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.

Read White’s letter here:

to an anxious friend

Street View

It’s National Poetry Month! Each week in April, KHC will be sharing one poem from Odd Evening, the new collection of poetry from Poet Laureate of Kansas™ Eric McHenry.

Street View

For more from the Poet Laureate of Kansas™, attend a Poet Laureate of Kansas™ event and follow Eric McHenry on Facebook.

Humanities Happenings 4/1-4/3


“Prejudice and Pride (1965-1980)” screens in Emporia on Saturday, April 2, as part of Latino Americans: 500 Years of History.

Decisions, decisions. What cultural event will you attend in Kansas this weekend?

Kansas City: The Land We Live On

Explore the history of Rosedale, Kansas, and learn the stories of its parks, streets, and urban planning over the last 100 years in this exhibition from the Rosedale Development Association, Inc. April 1-5. Details here.

Topeka: A Little Princess

Ten-year-old Sara Crewe had everything — fancy clothes, dolls, her own maid — until tragic misfortune leaves her penniless but still rich in friendship and imagination. Sandra Wiechert leads a TALK book discussion of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic novel. Friday, April 1 at 2:00 PM at Aldersgate Village. Details here.

Emporia: Prejudice and Pride (1965-1980)

Latino Americans: 500 Years of History continues in Emporia with a screening of the film “Prejudice and Pride (1965-1980).” Frustrated by the persistent discrimination of the 1960s, Latino Americans organized labor and fashioned a “Chicano” identity with hopes of achieving political equality. Leonard Ortiz leads the discussion following the film. Saturday, April 2 at 2:00 PM at Lyon County History Center. Details here.

Coffeyville: Sharing Patterns, Sharing Lives

In the early 20th century, Emporia was home to a group of innovative quilters that included Rose Kretsinger, Charlotte Whitehall, and Hannah Hayes Headlee. Today their quilts are housed in art museums and revered internationally. Deborah Divine’s Speakers Bureau presentation looks at Kansas quilts from this time period and the unique collaboration that sparked “the Emporia, Kansas phenomenon” and some of the finest quilts of the 20th century. Saturday, April 2 at 2:00 PM at Coffeyville Public Library. Details here.

Wichita: Onward Haskell: The Making of an Indian Nations University

The United States Indian Industrial Training School welcome its first 22 students to Lawrence in 1884. Now known as Haskell Indian Nations University, the school continues to educate American Indian and Alaska Native young people who move to Kansas from all over the country. Eric Anderson’s Speakers Bureau presentation examines the early days of Haskell: the goals of the U.S. government in providing an American Indian-specific school, the responses by native peoples, and the effects of assimilation policy on them. Saturday, April 2 at 1:00 PM at Mid-America All-Indian Center & Museum. Details here.

Newton: Azteca Dancers

Learn about Newton High School’s Azteca Dancers in this presentation by Patricia Olais. The dance troupe was formed in the 1990s and is part of the Azteca Club, an organization whose mission is “to promote awareness of Hispanic culture in NHS and the Newton community.” This event is part of Latino Americans: 500 Years of History. Sunday, April 3 at 2:00 PM at Harvey County Historical Museum & Archives. Details here.

Kinsley: Bronco’ Bustin’ Showmen and Their Spectacular Wild West Shows

Wild West shows at the turn of the 20th century delighted audiences in the United States and abroad. A surprising number of skilled cowboys and breathtaking shows originated in the Great Plains region. Jane Rhoads’ Speakers Bureau presentation highlights famous western entertainers including Will Rogers, Pawnee Bill, Tom Mix, Lucille Mulhall and Buffalo Bill Cody, the father of western entertainment. Sponsored by the Edwards County Historical Society. Sunday, April 3 at 6:00 PM at Edwards County 4-H Building. Details here.

Even more humanities events are listed on KHC’s Calendar of Events.

Call for KHC Board Members 2016


The Kansas Humanities Council is currently seeking nominations of Kansans to fill vacancies on its Board of Directors. Nominations are due April 22, 2016.

“Kansas Humanities Council board members value the role of the humanities in strengthening the civic and cultural life of our state,” said Aaron Otto, chair of the Membership committee. “If you are enthusiastic about the humanities and would like to promote and support the work of KHC in Kansas communities, consider a nomination to the KHC Board of Directors.”

The Kansas Humanities Council is a nonprofit organization governed by a 21-member volunteer Board of Directors. The Kansas Humanities Council’s mission is to connect communities with history, traditions, and ideas to strengthen civic life.

Nominations must be submitted in writing. Members serve for a three-year term with the possibility of renewal for a second term. Individuals may nominate themselves or others for board service. Click here for information or contact Julie Mulvihill, executive director, at (785) 357-0359 or julie(at)

Humanities Happenings 3/11-3/13

"Driving Cattle." Image courtesy of, Kansas Historical Society, Copy and Reuse Restrictions Apply.

“Driving Cattle.” Image courtesy of, Kansas Historical Society, Copy and Reuse Restrictions Apply.


Like Cowboys? You’re in luck! Cowboys are the topics of three presentations and discussions this weekend, along with Mexican American fast-pitch softball, Nicodemus, and the Underground Railroad. Plus, ongoing exhibitions in Colby, North Newton, and Wichita. There are plenty of cultural events to engage and inspire you!

Hiawatha: Cowboys and Clerics

In the days when Wild Bill Hickok might ride his horse into your church service — it happened in Junction City — the life of a minister was a rowdy affair. John Burchill’s Speakers Bureau presentation looks into the early years of Kansas clergy and the colorful characters that made up our early faith communities, such as Pastor Gay of Mulvane who faced a gunman in church — and then converted him. Friday, March 11 at 6:00 PM at Klinefelter Farm Barn. Sponsored by the Brown County Historical Society. Details here.

Augusta: The Last Cattle Drive

Spangler Star Tukle, a cantankerous rancher, and his no-nonsense wife Opal defy the truckers and drive their cattle to market on a hilarious journey from western Kansas to the Kansas City stockyards. Jim Hoy leads this TALK book discussion of Robert Day’s book. Saturday, March 12 at 10:30 AM at Augusta Public Library. Details here.

Kansas City: Fast-Pitch Softball and the Mexican American Communities of Kansas

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. As the Mexican populations grew in Kansas, so did projects to “Americanize” the children. Softball fields became the intended place to assimilate the kids, but instead the games became community spots where neighborhoods asserted their own unique identities. Gene T. Chavez’s Speakers Bureau presentation traces the development of Mexican American fast-pitch softball in the Sunflower State. Saturday, March 12 at 10:30 AM at the South Branch, Kansas City Kansas Public Library. Details here.

Burlington: Lawbreakers for the Common Good

In the mid-1800s, some Kansans defied federal, state, and territorial laws in pursuit of a common goal: liberty for all. Anne P.W. Hawkins’ Speakers Bureau presentation explores true accounts of little-know operatives who worked illegally on the Underground Railroad in Kansas, a clandestine network that helped guide enslaved people to freedom. Risking fearful penalties for their underground involvement, these men, women, and children — both black and white — offer us examples of what is possible for justice-seekers working together. Saturday, March 12 at 1:00 PM at Coffey County Historical Society & Museum. Details here.

Kinsley: African Americans and Nicodemus

Angela Bates leads a presentation about Nicodemus, Kansas, established in 1877 by former slaves from Kentucky as the first all-black settlement on the Great Plains. Rev. Victor Williams, a descendent of early Nicodemus settlers, portrays Rev. Daniel Hickman, Nicodemus founding father. This event is part of “The Kansas Mosaic: Ethnic Settlement in Central and Western Kansas,” a series of monthly readings, discussions, and presentations, exploring immigration and settlement in Kansas. Supported by a KHC Humanities grant. Sunday, March 13 at 2:00 PM at Kinsley Public Library. Details here.

Hutchinson: Head ‘Em Up & Move ‘Em Out

Jim Gray’s Speakers Bureau presentation explores how the early days of ranching and trail driving required stamina and determination. The drover of yesteryear had little choice but to face the elements placed before him if he was to get his wild cattle to market. A thousand miles on the trail brought him into contact with all that nature could throw at him: lightning, flooded rivers, hail, tornadoes, and stampeding cattle were constant challenges. Today’s massive beef industry owes its beginnings to the men and women who were bold enough to “head ’em up and move ’em out.” Sunday, March 13 at 3:00 PM at Hutchinson/Reno Arts & Humanities Council. Details here.

Find more Humanities Happenings at KHC’s Calendar of Events.

Humanities Happenings 3/4-3/6


Need some weekend plans?  Attend a film festival, ponder the future of farming, learn about the Plains Indian Wars, read and discuss a “Bleeding Kansas”-era work in Stafford and a children’s classic in Topeka, or visit exhibitions in Colby, North Newton, and Wichita — all made possible with KHC support.

Lawrence: See/Saw Festival

The theme for the 2016 See/Saw Festival is On the Brink: Borders, Boundaries, and Becoming and focuses on the concept of pushing and navigating borders — both physical and personal. The community film festival takes place March 4-6. Click here for full list of  film screening times and location. This event is supported by a KHC Humanities grant.

Lyons: Future of Farming

The Rice County Historical Society presents “Future of Farming,” a panel discussion about trends in agriculture. The event is part of “Agricultural Choices,” an oral history project supported by a KHC Heritage grant. 5:00 on March 4. Details here.

Baldwin City: The Santa Fe Trail and the Civil War

During the Civil War, events at both ends of the Santa Fe Trail contributed to the war’s outcome while another war in the middle — the Plains Indian Wars — grew in intensity and eventually resulted in removal of the Plains tribes from Kansas. Leo E. Oliva’s Speakers Bureau presentation introduces key conflicts along the Santa Fe Trail. Sponsored by the Santa Fe Trail Historical Society of Southern Douglas County. 6:15 PM on March 5. Details here.

Stafford: The Englishman in Kansas

With reporter-like details, Englishman and abolitionist T. H. Gladstone’s book — “The Englishman in Kansas” — paints vivid pictures of “border ruffians,” frontier life, and the violence of slavery, giving the background to “Bleeding Kansas” and the contested elections that decided if Kansas would be free or slave. Linda M. Lewis leads this TALK book discussion at 1:30 PM on March 6 at Stafford County Historical & Genealogical Society. Details here.

Topeka: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

In C. S. Lewis’ classic book, four brothers and sisters discover a magical land inside a wardrobe — and must find the faith, imagination, and courage to help Aslan the Lion free Narnia from the White Witch. Sara W. Tucker leads this TALK book discussion at 3:00 PM on March 6 at Aldersgate Village. Details here.

Find more humanities happenings on KHC’s Calendar of Events.