Take one speaker presenting a unique Kansas story followed by engaging community discussion and you have the formula for a lively humanities experience in Kansas. Find Speakers Bureau presentations and discussions in Augusta, Beloit, Great Bend, Greensburg, and Wichita this week.
Greensburg: 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-known 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 involvements, these men, women, and children–both black and white–offer us examples of what is possible for justice-seekers working together. Saturday, July 23 at 3:00 PM at Kiowa County Senior Center. Details here.
Augusta: 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 Leagues 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. Saturday, July 23 at 10:30 AM at Augusta Public Library. Details here.
Wichita: Head ‘Em Up & Move ‘Em Out
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 constantly challenges. Jim Gray’s Speakers Bureau presentation looks at how the massive beef industry owes its beginnings to the men and women who were bold enough to “head ’em up and move ’em out.” Saturday, July 23 at 1:00 PM at Old Cowtown Museum. Details here.
Great Bend: Women Writers on the Santa Fe Trail
Some of the first women to travel across present-day Kansas were travelers on the Santa Fe Trail. Leo E. Oliva’s Speakers Bureau presentation looks at the adventures and reflections of four of these remarkable women who wrote their own stories. Susan Shelby Magoffin traveled with her husband’s wagon train in 1846, while Katie Bowen traveled the trail in 1851. From the age of 7 to 17, Marion Sloan Russell traveled the Santa Fe Trail five times with her single mother. Perhaps the most famous of this group, however, was suffragist and abolitionist Julia Archibald Holmes who wrote letters as she traveled the Santa Fe Trail across Kansas Territory to the Rocky Mountains, where she became the first woman to climb Pike’s Peak. Monday, July 25 at 7:30 PM at Barton County Historical Society. Sponsored by Santa Fe Trail Association, Quivira Chapter. Details here.
Wichita: Throw Like a Girl
Many female athletes in Kansas have fascinating tales of perseverance, hard work and success on levels where they were previously barred from competition. Laura Hartley’s Speakers Bureau presentation explores the landscape for women athletes in our country before and after Title IX legislation and how opportunities for women have impacted sports in our country. Wednesday, July 27 at 10: 00 AM at Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum. Details here.
Beloit: Kansas Legends and Folktales
Grasshoppers so big that cowboys can ride them to herd cattle. Summers so hot that corn pops in the field. Ranching Henry Mudge wrecking pianos, shooting sheep, and fooling European dignitaries. Kansas is a place of big skies and tall tales, but these exaggerated narratives help us understand the character of our state and its people. Jim Hoy’s Speakers Bureau presentation explores some of the many Kansas legends and folktales and help audiences decipher between a myth (folk religion), legend (folk history), and tale (folk literature). Thursday, July 28 at 7:00 PM at Mitchell County Fair Association. Details here.
More Humanities Happenings in Kansas can be found on the KHC Calendar of Events.