Call for 2016-2017 Speakers Bureau Proposals

SB collage

Deadline: Friday, August 21, 2015

Click here for the RFP.

KHC is seeking proposals for Speakers Bureau-style presentations that engage Kansas audiences with the humanities.

The 2016-2017 Speakers Bureau catalog will feature topics that explore ideas and research related to The Common Good–democratic citizenship, water and land use, changing demographics, and folklife traditions, among other topics. KHC scholars are respected for their knowledge of their topic, humanities perspective, public service, and ability to answer questions through scholarship and experience.

For more information, contact Leslie Von Holten, director of programs, at leslie(at)kansashumanities.org.

Sugar-laced Tonics and Fizzy Cure-alls

This summer, KHC features daily posts about the speakers and topics in the Humanities catalog. Today’s featured presentation is “Soda Fountains of Kansas” by Cindy Higgins.

City Drug Store, Fredonia, 1930s. kansasmemory.org, Kansas Historical Society, Copy and Reuse Restrictions Apply.

City Drug Store, Fredonia, 1930s. kansasmemory.org, Kansas Historical Society, Copy and Reuse Restrictions Apply.

During the glory days of the soda fountain, Kansas pharmacists created tonics and curatives that eventually evolved into refreshments like the Brown Cow, the Mudslide, and the Egg Cream. “Most every early Kansas pharmacy sooner or later installed a soda fountain stocked with sugar-laced tonics and fizzy cure-alls invented by the local pharmacist and served by a fast-moving, slang-talking soda jerk,” says KHC presenter Cindy Higgins said.

Many people still enjoy the fun refreshments. “Serving an updated menu, several soda fountains remain in Kansas today, and some nationwide offer innovative artisanal treats reminiscent of the fountains’ original offerings,” she says.

In her Speakers Bureau talk, Higgins explains how government regulations, World War I luxury taxes, and bottled soda pop played a role in these ice cream concoctions that became a profitable sideline business. The presentation will explore soda fountains in Kansas today and the revival of soda fountains throughout the nation.

Cindy Higgins

Cindy Higgins

Cindy Higgins is a journalist and Kansas historian whose research interests focus on Kansas industry before technological mechanization dramatically changed work and labor in the early 20th century.

You can attend Cindy Higgins’ “Soda Fountains of Kansas” on October 18th in Derby. You can also bring this or one of the other presentations in the Humanities catalog to your community for FREE with a Resource Center Support Grant. It’s quick and easy! Visit the Speakers Bureau page to get started or contact Leslie Von Holten, director of programs, at leslie(at)kansashumanities.org for more information.

Building a Cultural Foundation

This summer, KHC features daily posts about the speakers and topics in the Humanities catalog. Today’s featured presentation is “The Humanities Combat Rural Decline” by Joan Nothern.

Joan Nothern stands in front of a banner for the Journey Stories Smithsonian exhibition, one of the many humanities events Glasco has hosted.

Joan Nothern stands in front of a banner for the Journey Stories Smithsonian exhibition, one of the many humanities events Glasco has hosted in recent years.

“Humanities and other cultural projects and programs cannot stop the changes confronting rural Kansas communities, but they can provide insight into the nature of change, and help reveal the character of community that sustains it,” observes KHC Speakers Bureau presenter Joan Nothern.

“Exploring and discovering local heritage is a dynamic process that may make a difference in our rural future,” she said.

In her presentation, “Humanities Combat Rural Decline,” Nothern explores how cultural opportunities allowed one rural Kansas town to stretch beyond its own place and time. The residents of struggling Glasco, population 498, were told that their town had no future. Rather than accepting defeat, the residents pushed back by organizing and hosting cultural events. Joan’s talk leads audiences through their journey, which strengthened the community.

Joan Nothern is president of the Solomon Valley–Highway 24–Heritage Alliance and has coordinated historical research projects, organized symposiums, and assisted in the creation of 24 interpretive community kiosks. Her interest in sustaining rural Kansas communities has earned her awards from the Kansas Sampler Foundation and the UFM Community Learning Center.

You can bring Joan Nothern’s “The Humanities Combat Rural Decline”  or one of the other presentations in the Humanities catalog to your community for FREE with a Resource Center Support Grant. It’s quick and easy! Visit the Speakers Bureau page to get started or contact Leslie Von Holten, director of programs, at leslie(at)kansashumanities.org for more information.

 

Fire From the Sky

This summer, KHC features daily posts about the speakers and topics in the Humanities catalog. Today’s featured presentation is “Fire From the Kansas Sky: The Piatt Street Plane Crash of 1965” by D.W. Carter.

Piatt Street Memorial, Wichita. Image via City of Wichita.

Piatt Street Memorial, Wichita. Image via City of Wichita.

On a cold Saturday morning in 1965, an Air Force KC-135 tanker carrying 31,000 gallons of jet fuel crashed into a congested African American neighborhood in Wichita. When the fire subsided, 47 people, mostly children, were dead or injured, several homes were destroyed, and families were splintered. “This tragedy touched so many people through various socioeconomic lines,” says KHC scholar D.W. Carter.

The accident is also rarely mentioned in Kansas history discussions today. “By remembering and retelling the story, we are providing much needed healing to those who were affected,” says Carter. His presentation, “Fire From the Kansas Sky: The Piatt Street Plane Crash of 1965,” explores why the plane crashed, how the community responded, and how race relations in Wichita were further strained because of the disaster.

D.W. Carter

D.W. Carter

D.W. Carter is a historian, best-selling author, and educator specializing in military and social history. Originally from Elizabethtown, Kentucky, Carter was stationed at McConnell Air Force Base in 2003 and now considers himself a Kansan

You can bring D.W. Carter’s “Fire From the Kansas Sky: The Piatt Street Plane Crash of 1965” or one of the other presentations in the Humanities catalog to your community for FREE with a Resource Center Support Grant. It’s quick and easy! Visit the Speakers Bureau page to get started or contact Leslie Von Holten, director of programs, at leslie(at)kansashumanities.org for more information.

Kansas Culture before History

This summer, KHC features daily posts about the speakers and topics in the Humanities catalog. Today’s featured presentation is “Kansas BC” by Donald J. Blakeslee.

This ceramic head is Kansas' oldest fired clay artifact, dating between 3550 and 3050 BCE. kansasmemory.org, Kansas Historical Society, Copy and Reuse Restrictions Apply.

This ceramic head is Kansas’ oldest fired clay artifact, dating between 3550 and 3050 BCE. kansasmemory.org, Kansas Historical Society, Copy and Reuse Restrictions Apply.

Kansans often share homesteading stories of their ancestors’ adventures on the Great Plains, but KHC presenter Donald Blakeslee reminds audiences of the Kansas before European settlement. “Consider what was not here: no cities, no roads, no mechanization, no domestic animals other than the dog,” says Blakeslee.

“It is easy to imagine that the small human communities that occupied Kansas for thousands of years would have existed in relative isolation, focused on hand-to-mouth existence—but nothing could be further from the truth.”

“Kansas BC” looks at Kansas in the era before Columbus. Blakeslee discusses evidence that the prehistoric inhabitants of Kansas traveled widely, even to central Mexico, and traded with the Pueblo people of the Southwest. He shows that the early people of Kansas were interested in such arcane subjects as meteors and meteorites and were part of a continent-wide intellectual tradition.

Donald Blakeslee

Donald J. Blakeslee

Donald Blakeslee is an expert on prehistoric and early historic Plains life and professor of anthropology at Wichita State University. He has done fieldwork throughout the Great Plains and is the author of four books and numerous articles in anthropology.

You can attend Donald Blakeslee’s “Kansas BC” on September 4th in Salina.  You can also bring this or one of the other presentations in the Humanities catalog to your community for FREE with a Resource Center Support Grant. It’s quick and easy! Visit the Speakers Bureau page to get started or contact Leslie Von Holten, director of programs, at leslie(at)kansashumanities.org for more information.

Mutual Aid

This summer, KHC features daily posts about the speakers and topics in the Humanities catalog. Today’s featured presentation is “How Kansas Mennonites Changed Mental Health Care” by Aaron Barnhart.

Article from the Topeka Capital, October 24, 1952. kansasmemory.org, Kansas Historical Society, Copy and Reuse Restrictions Apply.

Article from the Topeka Capital, October 24, 1952. kansasmemory.org, Kansas Historical Society, Copy and Reuse Restrictions Apply.

Few people were as unprepared for World War I as Kansas Mennonites. Opposed to military service for religious reasons, these mostly German farmers came under suspicion. “Issues of personal conscience versus authority to the state is a theme as old as human history,” says KHC presenter Aaron Barnhart.

In his Speakers Bureau talk, “How Kansas Mennonites Changed Mental Health Care,” Barnhart explores how the Mennonites, along with Quaker and Brethren churches, proposed a system of alternative service as the threat of World War II loomed. Through the Civilian Public Service program, many conscientious objectors were assigned to work in mental health facilities, where they witnessed patients suffering in horrendous conditions. Eventually these Kansas Mennonites and other conscientious objectors led reforms for more humane psychiatric care practices.

Aaron Barnhart

Aaron Barnhart

Aaron Barnhart is a freelance writer and co-author of the book The Big Divide: A Travel Guide to Historic and Civil War Sites in the Missouri-Kansas Border Region. His research interests are in history, civil society, and rural America.

Barnhart recognizes that these reforms resulted, in some ways, from young people being required to serve in the military or alternative service. “I like to end my talk by asking if mandatory service might be an idea whose time has come again. Now there’s a lively discussion!”

You can attend Aaron Barnhart’s “How Kansas Mennonites Changed Mental Health Care” on November 11th in Kansas City, November 14th in Greensburg, and November 15th in Moundridge. You can also bring this or one of the other presentations in the Humanities catalog to your community for FREE with a Resource Center Support Grant. It’s quick and easy! Visit the Speakers Bureau page to get started or contact Leslie Von Holten, director of programs, at leslie(at)kansashumanities.org for more information.

Ghost Towns

This summer, KHC features daily posts about the speakers and topics in the Humanities catalog. Today’s featured presentation is “Lost Kansas Communities” by M.J. Morgan.

Terra Cotta, Kansas. Photo by Rebecca Hall, Chapman Center for Rural Studies.

Terra Cotta, Kansas. Photo by Rebecca Hall, Chapman Center for Rural Studies.

“Although so many early photographs show nearly identical Main Streets for thousands of disappeared Kansas communities, there is no such thing as a cookie cutter small town,” says KHC Speakers Bureau presenter M.J. Morgan. Her talk, “Lost Kansas Communities,” explores research conducted on lost Kansas places and discusses problems researchers have when searching for information.

Morgan notes that Kansas has nearly 9000 disappeared towns and communities, caused by its unusual and spectacularly fast settlement history. The variety of town types is as striking as the stories they left behind. “Every little place was someone’s home town. With creative research, we can find those home towns as they exist in archives and memories,” she says.

MJ Morgan

M.J. Morgan

M.J. Morgan is the director of research at the Chapman Center for Rural Studies at Kansas State University. Her specialty is the reconstruction of lost landscapes and environments as well as research into cultures and peoples whose voices do not often appear in standard histories.

Kansas Public Radio recently featured a story about Morgan’s research and her Speakers Bureau topic. You can listen to it here.

You can attend M.J. Morgan’s “Lost Kansas Communities” on September 12th in Emporia or September 21st in Winchester. You can also bring this or one of the other presentations in the Humanities catalog to your community for FREE with a Resource Center Support Grant. It’s quick and easy! Visit the Speakers Bureau page to get started or contact Leslie Von Holten, director of programs, at leslie(at)kansashumanities.org for more information.

Bullets, Badges, and Bridles

This summer, KHC features daily posts about the speakers and topics in the Humanities catalog. Today’s featured presentation is “Kansas Anti-Horse Thief Societies” by John Burchill.

John Burchill

John Burchill

“Any good calf rope could be used in decorating a tree.”

So went the motto of Kansas’ early anti-horse thief society members. “Kansans viewed the horse thief as worse than a murderer,” says KHC Speakers Bureau scholar John Burchill. “The cattleman/rancher used horses daily. This meant that those who stole horses could expect no mercy, and in cases of organized horse thief gangs, frequent and spontaneous committees could be expected.”

The Civil War, popular sovereignty, frontier vigilantism, and the unique style and power of the Kansas press made Kansas the center of operations for many organized bands of horse thieves. In reaction, independent anti-horse thief societies were formed, with the national Anti-Horse Thief Association was especially strong. Burchill’s presentation explores how these groups were so effective that local law enforcement officials were often the first members to join. The Kansas Bank Commissioner even called for their assistance to help fight bank robberies that also plagued the state.

John Burchill is an author and criminal justice historian who teaches at Kansas Wesleyan University. He is the author of Bullets, Badges, and Bridles: Horse Thieves and the Societies that Pursued Them.

You can attend John Burchill’s “Kansas Anti-Horse Thief Societies” on November 10th in Junction City. You can also bring this or one of the other presentations in the Humanities catalog to your community for FREE with a Resource Center Support Grant. It’s quick and easy! Visit the Speakers Bureau page to get started or contact Leslie Von Holten, director of programs, at leslie(at)kansashumanities.org for more information.

Social Justice in the Coalfields

This summer, KHC features daily posts about the speakers and topics in the Humanities catalog. Today’s featured presentation is “Union Maids and Rebel Dames: The Fight for Justice in the Kansas Coalfields” by Linda O’Nelio Knoll.

March of Amazon Army Mural

“Solidarity, March of the Amazon Army” mural by Wayne Wildcat. Image courtesy of Pittsburg Public Library.

Many Kansans today are surprised to learn that part of our state was once called “The Little Balkans.” When coal was discovered in Southeast Kansas in the late 1860s, thousands came from all over the world to work the mines. French, Swede, British, Italian, German, and Eastern European immigrants faced hazardous working conditions, poor pay, and discrimination in the mines.

In her KHC Speakers Bureau talk, “Union Maids and Rebel Dames: The Fight for Justice in the Kansas Coalfields,” Linda Knoll explores how, in 1921, thousands of women marched on the coal mines in support of striking miners. The spirited act linked men and women together and was dubbed by the New York Times as “The March of the Amazons.”

“The 1921 March of the Amazons happened against the backdrop of southeast Kansas’s turbulent strike-ridden history,” says Knoll. “Many social reforms were won from these struggles, which led to advances of the cause of human rights in America.”

Linda O'Nelio Knoll

Linda O’Nelio Knoll

Linda O’Nelio Knoll is an educator, author, and historian who works on the local history of southeast Kansas. She assisted with the establishment of the Miners Hall Museum in Franklin, Kansas. Knoll has a website devoted to the Amazon Army and has given numerous presentations on the story of the women’s march.

You can attend Linda O’Nelio Knoll’s “Union Maids and Rebel Dames: The Fight for Justice in the Kansas Coalfields” on September 10th in Wichita. You can also bring this or one of the other presentations in the Humanities catalog to your community for FREE with a Resource Center Support Grant. It’s quick and easy! Visit the Speakers Bureau page to get started or contact Leslie Von Holten, director of programs, at leslie(at)kansashumanities.org for more information.

Small Towns on the Edge

This summer, KHC features daily posts about the speakers and topics in the Humanities catalog. Today’s featured presentation is “Film and Discussion: Florence, Kansas” by Steve Lerner.

historic photo of railway depot in Florence

Florence’s Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway depot, early 1900s. Image courtesy of the Kansas Historical Society.

Like many rural communities today, the story of Florence, Kansas, is one of loss and resilience in the face of a changing economic landscape. Filmmaker Steve Lerner was captivated by the people he found there and their sense of pride and commitment to their community. “’Florence, Kansas’ explores the history, challenges, and future of one small Kansas town in the voices of those who live there,” says Lerner of his short film of interviews.

“Their experience will resonate with many others in small towns all across rural America today.”

Steve’s Speakers Bureau presentation begins with a film screening of “Florence, Kansas,” followed by a discussion that explores the rich history and challenges of Kansas small towns and their dreams for the future.

Steve Lerner

Steve Lerner

Steve Lerner is a psychologist, songwriter, and filmmaker. He founded and directed Menninger Video Productions, which produced many teaching films for mental health professionals. He also directed a number of documentaries and several short dramatic films as well. “Florence, Kansas” was produced by the Florence Historical Society and Lerner.

You can bring Steve Lerner’s “Film & Discussion: Florence, Kansas” or one of the other presentations in the Humanities catalog to your community for FREE with a Resource Center Support Grant. It’s quick and easy! Visit the Speakers Bureau page to get started or contact Leslie Von Holten, director of programs, at leslie(at)kansashumanities.org for more information.