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.