history

With Nazi rallies and swastikas showing up close to home in today's headlines, how one high school teacher is answering students' questions about World War II. 

Plus, why KU professor Kevin Willmott is wearing a bulletproof vest to class

Guests:

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

For centuries, refugees from all over the world have taken to the seas to escape violence and persecution in their homelands. Today, the author of a children's book published this year recounts just a few of their stories. Then, we speak to the director and producer of a new film about Gertrude Bell, who's been called the most powerful woman in the British Empire during World War I.

This week, the University of Kansas is hosting the Black Love Symposium. We meet keynote speaker, NYU professor Pamela Newkirk, here to talk about her anthology, "A Love No Less: More Than Two Centuries of African American Love Letters."

Plus, the "first Beverly Hillbilly" got his start here in Missouri. 

Guests:

Florent Vassault

The consequences of a death sentence most obviously affect the accused, but everyone involved in the case must deal with the decision's terminal implications. Today, we hear how a 1994 death sentence in Mississippi is affecting one juror's life decades later. Then, we explore how America's legacy of lynching still influences race relations in Missouri, Kansas and throughout the country.

A local writer and playwright tells us about her irreverent grandma, who she calls an "R-rated black Yoda."

Then: Dolores Huerta co-founded the National Farmworkers Association with Cesar Chavez, but she may be one of the least-known activists in American history. In light of a new documentary coming out this month, we hear more about Huerta from her great-niece, who lives in KC.

Guests:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.

Lynn Novick has been making documentaries for more than two decades, most of them in collaboration with Ken Burns. Their latest project, The Vietnam War, is the subject of her conversation today with host Steve Kraske.

Frank Morris / KCUR 89.3

Confederate monuments have been coming down around the country, including the one formerly on Ward Parkway in Kansas City, Missouri. But, with the current political turmoil, the scope of monuments coming in for new scrutiny is expanding fast.

The fight over Confederate statues got Bill Savage thinking about his own hometown.

Wikimedia Commons

The definition of an American family is no longer a man and his wife, living in suburbia with their 2.3 kids. Today, we learn about some of the economic forces reshaping families. Then, we explore the history of sandlot baseball in Kansas City, and find out how communities are trying to revive the tradition. Later, we discuss the controversy over Democratic Missouri Sen.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

As the country prepared for the first total solar eclipse over the continental United States in decades, the Up To Date crew headed into the path of totality for a live broadcast from Parkville, Missouri, and the campus of Park University. We founnd out why scientists, students, and historians were excited about the celestial event.

Slate Magazine says it's the "The Year of the Tick." A local entomologist tells us all about these creepy-crawly disease-carriers.

Then, the city of Lawrence recently hired an African-American police chief. However, he's not the first African-American in the position. The story of Lawrence's black chief marshall from the 1890s.

Plus a new zine that covers the LGBTQ music community in KC.

Guests:

Chris Dahlquist

What do you expect to find at a vending machine? Soda or chips? How about a full-blown history tour?

That’s the idea behind photographer Chris Dahlquist’s exhibit History Vendor, located at City Market Park on 3rd and Main Street through mid-October.

Universal Pictures / Warner Bros. / MGM/UA Entertainment Co.

From E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial to Poltergeist, the summer of '82 was a seminal one for smash-hits that stood the test of time. Today, Up To Date's Video Gurus reunite to reminisce on the raft of red-hot motion pictures from the Reagan era, which helped establish a cinema season most Americans now take for granted.

C.J. Janovy / KCUR 89.3

El Dean Holthus knows what people might think of a town like Smith Center, Kansas.

At nearly the exact geographic center of the contiguous United States, it's an hour from the nearest Interstate. It's home to about 1,600 people, but that population is declining like most of rural America's.

They probably think, he says, that "it's just a little hole in the ground."

Harris & Ewing / U.S. Library of Congress

People generally get their history lessons from a book or movie, not from a vending machine. Today, we learn about a novel way to put historical photos of Kansas City into the hands of City Market Park visitors.

A talk with the creator and director of two new shows that are premiering at the Kansas City Fringe Festival this weekend. One show was inspired by a box of old letters; the other by folk music.

Plus: there used to be a poor farm at 119th and Ridgeview Road; it was another time period's model for helping the homeless. The story of Johnson County's poor farm and the attitude towards poverty that it represents.

Guests:

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Whether you spent hours in the summer sun at a lifeguard post or delivered hot, greasy pizzas across town, it's hard to forget your very first job. Today, callers and KCUR staffers share their memories and the lasting impacts of that first job or paycheck. Then, we meet the Kansas City high schooler whose year-long research project into the "suffrajitsu" movement earned her top marks at the National History Day competition.

Charvex / Wikipedia Commons

The J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain is named after a man who did great things for Kansas City. However, his achievements were accompanied by racist beliefs and policies that still divide us. Today, the Ethics Professors discuss whether we should rename monuments that honor historic figures whose standards don't pass contemporary moral muster. Then, we explore the gray area of political free speech for public educators.

Fantasy Records / Heinrich Klaffs / Creative Commons

Songs like Proud Mary and Midnight Train to Georgia are well-known and much-loved, but the versions that got radio play went through multiple iterations on the part of numerous song writers, musicians, and producers, whose names you may not find in the liner notes. Today, we hear the evolution stories of iconic American pop, rock, and R&B anthems with music writer and critic Marc Myers.  Then sports reporter Greg Echlin updates us on Missouri and Kansas Olympians.

As a new Evel Knievel museum opens in Topeka, we look back at the legacy of this all-American daredevil. 

Plus, a panel of local educators joins us to help make sense of civics and the separation of powers in the American government.

Guests:

Jeffrey Beall / Wikimedia Commons

After the Civil War, violence and crime continued in the Missouri Ozarks, highlighted by gun fights, murders and lynchings. Today, we learn about that region's "Wild West" years and the vigilantes who prowled the territory. Then, Ryan O'Callaghan grappled for years with suicidal thoughts and hiding his homosexuality.

Phil Roeder / Flickr - CC

Drawing voting districts to favor one party or another, a process known as gerrymandering, is widely considered a key factor behind the country's intensely partisan climate. Today, we discuss the practice of "packing and cracking" in light of the U.S. Supreme Court's announcement this week to take up the issue.

Paul Sableman / Flickr - CC

Violent crime rates in Kansas City are on the rise, yet again. Today, we hear the first installment of KCUR's "The Argument," a reporting series that looks beyond the worrying statistics, and into the arguments that escalate to homicide. Then, we discuss how an 1878 eclipse, similar to the one that will cross the country on August 21, catalyzed scientific thought in America.

The 25th annual Heart of America Shakespeare Festival is coming soon, and this year, playing the lead in Hamlet is Nathan Darrow, who you may recognize from the Netflix series "House of Cards." We hear about his new role, then meet the family behind Kansas City's Juneteenth Festival, coming up June 17.

Warren K. Lefler / Library of Congress

In the years following the assassination of John F. Kennedy, his brother Robert forged a path of his own on the political front. Today, we discuss the pivotal years of Bobby Kennedy's life as he grappled with the past  while working toward a future of his own.

Public Domain / Detroit Free Press

Five decades ago, social unrest gripped cities across the country, at one point even spilling into the streets of Kansas City. Today, we find out what the "long, hot summer" of 1967 can teach us about race relations and cultural diversity in present-day America. Then, host Steve Kraske brushes up on his Shakespearean script-reading skills with veteran acting coach and director Ian Wooldridge.

Stories from people who have gone down the rabbit hole of researching the histories of their homes and insights from archivists who can help. Plus, the story of an influential but nearly-forgotten African-American vaudeville performer from Kansas. 

Marleah Campbell / KCUR 89.3

Television has rapidly evolved since its humble, black-and-white beginnings. Today, we discuss how  TV has forever changed the American culture. Then, actress and activist Morgan Fairchild joins us to discuss her advocacy work and insights on current events and politics.

Norma Productions

June has arrived, liberating children from schools all over Kansas City and vexing adults with the impossible task of keeping them entertained. If you're looking for a mental escape from this annual phenomenon, Up To Date's indie, foreign and documentary film critics suggest sheltering your mind in the safety of a good movie.

Steve Walker

The Wedding Plan, PG

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

On a windswept hillside in Leavenworth County is a weather-worn wooden church that’s been there for nearly 150 years. For more than a century, Little Stranger Church was a place for worship and celebration   — until it wasn’t anymore. But now, some locals are trying to bring it back, and they have a powerful incentive: home-made pie.

Jenny Simeone-Casas / St. Louis Public Radio

As Confederate monuments come down in New Orleans, people in other states across the country are considering similar memorials in their own backyards. On this episode, one Midwestern state deals with its own Confederate history.

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