history

The Vietnamese-American Community of Greater Kansas City just participated in an annual commemoration the Fall of Saigon, which the organization calls its Black April Commemoration. This year's anniversary marked forty years since the moment when communist power extended to South Vietnam, and Saigon became Ho Chi Minh City. People fled in large numbers, and for many in the local Vietnamese community, a long perilous journey ended here in Kansas City. 

Guests:

andrewlawler.com

A descendant of Tyrannosaurus Rex, the chicken has made an legendary and winding journey from pre-history to our dinner plates. In his new book, Why Did the Chicken Cross the World? The Epic Saga of the Bird That Powers Civilization science writer Andrew Lawler provides an account of the long partnership between human and chicken.

The Library of Congress

The name Boston Corbett might not ring a bell, but his claim to fame — killing John Wilkes Booth — was only one of many events in the man’s bizarre life.

After he shot Lincoln’s killer (through the slats of a burning tobacco barn), Corbett's winding path brought him to Kansas, where he lived until his death.

These events are chronicled by historian Scott Martelle, who has just published The Madman and the Assassin: The Strange Life of Boston Corbett, the man who killed John Wilkes Booth, the first full-length biography of Corbett.

Prison chaplains provide service for many souls, but what happens when your congregation is made up of the men who served under Adolf Hitler? The book Mission at Nuremberg: An American Army Chaplain and the Trial of the Nazis pieces together the life of Henry Gerecke, the U.S. Army chaplain given one of the most controversial assignments following World War II.  Guest

  • Tim Townsend​, editor at Timeline and author of Mission at Nuremberg: An American Army Chaplain and the Trial of the Nazis

 

Wichita State University Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives

As we continue our long-term exploration of lines that unite and divide our metro, a project we call Beyond our Borders, we’re turning an eye to the border between Wyandotte and Johnson Counties in Kansas.

Long noted for their differences (and rivalry), Wyandotte was at one time, at least in part, Johnson County.

The making of a state

c/o Kansas State Historical Society

In the early 1800s, before the Shawnee Indians were relocated to Kansas and then Oklahoma, there was a powerful Shawnee spiritual leader at the center of American Indian resistance against white settlers. The Shawnee Prophet — Tenskwatawa — condemned inter-tribal violence and preached for all the tribes to come together as tribal land was threatened by settler expansion and the United States government.

Kansas Historical Society

The Rev. Thomas Johnson was a character in history who had many friends and foes, and his murder 150 years ago remains unsolved to this day.

Johnson established the Shawnee Indian Mission, a now national historic site in modern day Fairway, Kan.

His legacy lives on, even though you have probably never heard of him — he is the namesake of Johnson County, Kansas.

A pre-Columbian civilization once thrived here in the Midwest. The remains of that early society, known as Cahokia, are located in East St. Louis. The archaeological site near a meat-packing plant consists of plazas, mounds and the base of an earthen pyramid. Researchers at the University of Illinois and the University of Indiana have recently received grants to continue investigating the Cahokia Mounds. 

Guest:

  • Susan Alt, archaeologist, The University of Indiana in Bloomington
selmamovie.com

What went through the mind of a Kansas City community organizer as he watched Selma, depicting Martin Luther King Junior's march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965? What did filmmaker Kevin Wilmott, who has juggled the competing demands of historical research and creative vision, think of the storytelling techniques? And what is our local movie critic's takeaway?

Guests:

University of Missouri Press

  Any prominent public figure has private citizens supporting him or her without much recognition. The name Grenville Clark may not roll off your tongue, but the people he supported-- including both presidential Roosevelts-- changed the history of the United States.  

Guest:

  • Nancy Peterson Hill, author of A Very Private Public Citizen: The Life of Grenville Clark
Istituto per la storia del Risorgimento Italiano, Rome

President Obama's recent call for police body cameras raises questions about documenting truth. An art curator, a war historian and a police major discuss. 

Guests:

After gaining independence, the people of Ireland used pageantry to express their heritage. These thematic recreations of historical and mythical events were subversive acts of forging a new national identity. In All Dressed Up: Modern Irish Historical Pageantry, Joan Dean explores the public imagination of history.

Guest:  

diy.storycorps.org/learn-more/

The holidays bring good food, lots of family, and fascinating tales. When families unite, storytelling takes center stage as we recall childhood memories and the ups and downs of life. On this edition of Up to Date, Steve Kraske talks with a personal historian and StoryCorps' David Isay about the process and significance of preserving family stories in preparation for the National Day of Listening

Guests:

Gerald Ford bumped Nelson Rockefeller off the 1976 presidential ticket. Two years later, the colorful four-term governor of New York managed to create scandalous headlines with the circumstances of his death.

On this broadcast of Up to Date, Steve Kraske and historian Richard Norton Smithe delve into the life and times of the former vice-president. They discuss his rise to political prominence and his rocky, but unapologetic, personal life.

Guest:

Paul Andrews

Back-breaking labor makes people colorless.

That's how artist Hung Liu remembers it, anyway. At the age of 16, she was sent to the Chinese countryside to live and work without a wage as part of Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolution. High school had filled her head with too much non-proletarian knowledge; she would have to unlearn it all through hard labor. 

"Working in the cornfield, you sweat. In the morning, you pull the wheat with mud all over your hands. We were colorless," Liu says.

Suzanne Hogan / KCUR

Right in the center of downtown Kansas City, Kan., between the public library and government buildings just off Minnesota Avenue, is a little two-acre cemetery.

The sign reads "Huron Indian Cemetery," but it’s also known as the Wyandot National Burying Ground. Over the years this place has been a gathering spot and a sacred place for members of the Wyandot Nation, but it has also been the site of controversy, confusion and a curse.

Brett Weinstein / Wikimedia Commons

When it comes to the telling of the American story, historian David McCullough has few peers. In a book-writing career spanning 46 years, McCullough has chronicled the lives of Harry Truman, Theodore Roosevelt and John Adams. He wrote about the devastation of the Jonestown Flood and the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Panama Canal.

mohaoffbeat.blogspot.com / Creative Commons

Ben Webster hated to fly on airplanes.

When he went to Europe to perform for his fans across the Atlantic, the trip was one-way. 

A contemporary of Charlie Parker, Webster grew up in Kansas City, Mo., right off of 24th Street. He taught himself to play the piano at a young age, and started his career performing as a pianist for silent films. It wasn't until he was about 20 years old that he took up the saxophone.

A few decades ago, Union Station was a bustling train hub, but then people started traveling by air and the station fell into disuse and disrepair. Kansas City's grand old train station turned one hundred this year. In this edition of Up To Date, Steve Kraske discusses the history of the station, how a flood changed its story and the miracle of its survival. 

Guest:

Behind the front lines of the Civil War, a world of spies lurked, full of cloak, dagger and... petticoats?

On Thursday's Up to Date, we talk about the true stories of four women who became spies-- some for the North and some for the South.

Guest:

  • Karen Abbott, author of Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War
City of Lenexa / Facebook

Fall festival season is upon us, and the Kansas City area is gearing up for a busy couple of months. We've gathered up a few of the many celebrations that focus on local history and harvest time.

Lenexa Spinach Festival, Sept. 6 at Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park in Lenexa, Kan.
History exhibits, craft fair, massive spinach salad, cooking demos

When war broke out in Europe a century ago, more than one in 10 Missourians was German-American. On this episode we talk about the experiences of Missouri’s German-Americans in World War I.

University of Kansas

Ethnomusicologist Daniel Atkinson describes Louisiana State Penitentiary (commonly called "Angola") as a “living, breathing plantation.” The land where the prison stands today was converted from plantation to penitentiary after slavery was abolished. 

  Tanks and ammo certainly played a big part in winning World War II, but the Pacific theater had another large asset—elephants.

On Thursday's Up to Date, we talk about the man who led these animals against the Axis powers and the bond he developed with these surprisingly gentle giants.

Guest:

Vicki Constantine Croke, author of Elephant Company

Regnery History

Presidents have been forced to calculate whether they want to be men of the people...or men of somewhat higher understanding.

On this edition of Up to Date Steve Kraske sits down with author Tevi Troy for a look at how popular culture has shaped the presidency. From Jefferson’s grounding in philosophy to Obama’s mastery of Internet culture, they examine who was best, or worst, at navigating a president's need to connect with the average citizen through the culture of the day.

Guest:

Mlaaker / Flickr-CC

When you think of the Masons, images of secret societies and rituals may come to mind—but what about their architecture?

National Museum of American History

Kansas Citians - or at least Chiefs fans - may have our own take on the closing line of the national anthem, but this Independence Day we can join the rest of America to celebrate the song's 200th anniversary. That's right: it's been two centuries since Francis Scott Key first commemorated the symbol of the home of the brave

CC Public Domain

  

This spring marked the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, a Kansas case that went to the Supreme Court and ultimately ended with the ruling that the segregation of schools was unconstitutional. In the first half of Tuesday's Central Standard, we shared some little-known stories of the desegregation process from the months and years that followed.

The Battle Of Westport 150 Years Later

Jun 19, 2014
Newell Convers Wyeth / Missouri State Capitol

In October of 1864, Kansas City played host to a dramatic clash of Union and Confederate forces. Thousands of troops squared off along Brush Creek and Blue River in the Battle of Westport, the largest Civil War battle west of the Mississippi River. On Thursday's Up to Date Steve Kraske talks with preservationist Daniel Smith about the legacy of the "Gettysburg of the West."

maryfrancesberry.com

For four decades, Mary Frances Berry has been a civil rights activist. Famously fired from the US Civil Rights Commission before being rehired by President Reagan, she’s gone on to chair the commission, serve as the first woman and African American to be chancellor of the University of Colorado, and teach legal history at the University of Pennsylvania.

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