Kansas City Public Library

First, Ambassador Allan Katz examines the diminishing role of civility in politics, and what might be done to reverse it. Then, the story of Forsyth County, Georgia, which became a "white county" in 1912, after a campaign of violence and intimidation against its black inhabitants. This week's Local Listen features Brody Buster's One Man Band.

For Cuban exile Carlos Eire, coming to the U.S. as a boy was a gift but it took him a few years to realize the freedoms it afforded him. Then, a new book from journalist Gary Younge brings statistics to bear by chronicling the stories of 10 young people who were killed by gunfire on November 23, 2013.

C.J. Janovy / KCUR 89.3

Update, October 6, 2016: This post has been updated to include a statement from the Jewish Foundation of Greater Kansas City, whose spokeswoman was originally unavailable due to the Rosh Hashanah holiday.

Kansas City Public Library Executive Director R. Crosby Kemper III said off-duty police officers "over-reacted" when they arrested Steve Woolfolk, the library's director of public programming, along with community member Jeremy Rothe-Kushel during an event at the Plaza branch in May.

How Uncertainty Builds Faith In 'A Gray World'

Sep 27, 2016

During troubled times some turn to prayer, but when left with no answers they may question their beliefs. Religion writer Bill Tammeus says that doubt is natural, and can play a big part in strengthening one's faith.

In the early 1690s, Massachusetts got swept up in the madness of witch hunts, which culminated in the Salem witch trials and the execution of 20 people. On this edition of Up To Date, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Stacy Schiff talks about the 1692 tragedy that still fascinates us today, and how it compares to modern times.

Courtesy of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

In a new unique three-venue exhibition, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art brings photography of the late, Cuban-born Jesse A. Fernández to Kansas City. The curator of the exhibition joins us to talk about the work and the life of the artist.


Monet's Final Endeavor Of 'Water Lilies'

Sep 19, 2016
Claude Monet / Public domain

Claude Monet's water lily paintings are some of the most beloved works of art in history, but the painter was endlessly frustrated by the elusiveness of his subject. Ross King, author of Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies, says the artist worked tirelessly on them, going so far as to have his barber trim his hair while he painted.

Designing and planning an urban landscape is about more than just figuring out which building goes where, and John Ruble should know. His architectural firm has taken on projects around the world that he hopes will serve their host cities for years to come.

The American Housing Act of 1949 reshaped Kansas City in enduring ways, but was it for the best? Local historian Michael Wells, who works in the library's special collections department, examines how the law changed the metro's infrastructure and how its effects are felt today.

The kidnapping of a red-headed, half-Irish, half-Mexican Arizona boy was the unlikely impetus for the longest war in American history, says historian Paul Andrew Hutton. The Apache Wars lasted from 1861 until 1890, and revealed the tensions that existed between tribal communities and American settlers.

The DLC / Flickr -- CC

How do you tell a city's history? We talk with the head of one of the city's largest and most important historical collections on his last day on the job.


Activist and author Irene Tinker has spent more than 60 years of her life researching women's contributions to homes and societies all over the world. Despite being encouraged by decades of progress toward parity, she says barriers to equality still exist.

The federal government created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to enforce laws aimed at reducing discrimination in the workplace. In its 51-year history, the commission has made real progress but work remains to be done.


Are we a society of bullies? We talk to two sociologists who make the case we can’t fix bullying in schools until we take a close look at the bigger institutional factors in America that encourage it.


In researching Topeka's Westboro Baptist Church, Arkansas State University sociologist Rebecca Barrett-Fox got an intimate view of the ministry's operations. Despite what most people think, Barrett-Fox found the congregation and its roots aren't that far off the beaten path.

Paul Andrews/paulandrewsphotography.com

On his 9th birthday, Crosby Kemper III realized that his family was different.

His aunt’s ex-husband had kidnapped his cousin, and the uncle was arrested by the FBI at the New Orleans airport. That incident made the front pages of newspapers all over the country.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

To say they know a little something about national politics would be an understatement: David Von Drehle, editor-at-large for TIME, and Mike Allen, chief White House correspondent for POLITICO, share their insights on the presidential race so far and what to expect from the rest of the election season.

At the turn of the 20th Century, Kansas City was known for more than just a raucous drinking and gambling scene. The "Paris of the Plains" also served as a center for new, syncopated styles of ragtime, blues and jazz. With the music came an assemblage of composers and music publishers who called KC home.


Paul Andrews/paulandrewsphotography.com

Crosby Kemper III is a library executive, the co-founder of a politically conservative think tank and the heir to a famous Kansas City name. What was it like growing up Kemper ... and then, to make a name of one's own?


Kansas City author and teacher Whitney Terrell embedded with the U.S. military in Iraq about a decade ago — writing for publications such as Slate Magazine and The Washington Post. Some of the stories he heard became the basis for his third novel, The Good Lieutenant, an eye-opening look at women in the military.  

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

Let’s admit it: A lot of us aren’t as up on our Shakespeare as we ought to be (even some of us who were English majors).

For those who’d like to feel a little smarter as they head to Southmoreland Park for the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival's Twelfth Night, or What You Will, we consulted Geraldo U. Sousa, a professor of English at the University of Kansas who has written several books on Shakespeare and teaches Twelfth Night almost every semester.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

It may look like just another hefty tome, but Shakespeare's First Folio is a big deal. Up To Date hit the road for a live, first-hand look at one of the most valuable, and rare, literary documents in the English language.


You know the story; with a good education, hard work, and a little stick-to-itiveness, you can make a better life for yourself and your kids. It's quite literally the American dream. Political scientist and author Robert D. Putnam wonders, though, if that narrative is becoming less attainable.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Within ten minutes of his first day of school Juan Felipe Herrera was spanked, scolded, and left crying, all for speaking Spanish, the only language he knew. You wouldn't have guessed it then, but Herrera would grow up to be named the United States Poet Laureate. Twice.

His journey may never have happened if it weren't for his third-grade teacher, Mrs. Sampson.

"She said something that stayed with me for the rest of my life, and that I tell everyone I meet," Herrera said in an interview on KCUR's Up To Date, "you have a beautiful voice."

We might be breaking kayfabe in saying so, but it's well-known that most professional wrestling is three parts theater, one part combat. While the moves in the ring might be choreographed, the injuries sustained by performers and the emotion from the crowd is anything but a farce.


Literature lovers owe a debt of gratitude to industrialist Henry Folger, who assembled the largest collection of William Shakespeare's folios, including the famed First Folio. Without that anthology, "half of his plays would have ended up on the ash heap of history," says author Andrea Mays.

C.J. Janovy / KCUR 89.3

Juan Felipe Herrera's official duty is to be the "lightning rod for the poetic impulse of Americans."

That's how the Library of Congress begins its job description for the United States poet laureate. In other words, the poet-in-chief "seeks to raise the national consciousness to a greater appreciation of the reading and writing of poetry."

Stephen Locke/Tempest Gallery

Storms in the Midwest can be dangerous, but there’s often beauty to be found in a streak of lightning or a billowing supercell.

"Chasing Weather," an exhibition at the Kansas City Public Library's downtown branch, combines 17 vivid storm photographs by Stephen Locke with poems by Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg. 

Across the globe, distinct political institutions and governing mechanisms have developed, but how and when did political order even begin? Starting with our primate ancestors through the eve of the French Revolution, we look at how our politics continue to evolve — or not — today.


Is our definition of what it means to be 'literate' changing in a digital age? Should it? We talk about why young people today need to understand how to use digital media for all aspects of their lives.