history

Commentary
5:30 am
Tue March 24, 2015

The Roots Of The Word 'Feminism'

Feminist suffrage parade in New York City, 1912.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

By the end of the 20th century, the word "feminism" had acquired a definition and divisive reputation that, while historically inaccurate, spoke to the backlash against its simple, yet radical concept.

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Commentary
5:30 am
Tue March 10, 2015

Rights Won, Rights Lost

Credit National Museum of American History / flickr Creative Commons

March is often a time to think about women’s contributions, and how far women have come toward equality. However, it is also important to consider moments when women have lost rights.

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Commentary
5:30 am
Mon March 9, 2015

'Dead Wake' May Be Larson's Best Yet

If you’re travelling to Berlin, you’d do well to read Erik Larson’s In the Garden of Beasts. Going to Chicago? Read his The Devil in the White City. However, if you’re going on a cruise, beware Larson’s latest-- and, I think, best-- book, Dead Wake. Larson combines impeccable research, fully drawn characters and social history to tell of a fateful journey when the rules of war became more dangerous for all people.

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Commentary
5:30 am
Tue February 24, 2015

The Success Of An Early Kansan

1860 Census entry for Feldin Buckner and his family (courtesy Jay Price)

As we think of the founders of the Wichita area, some names are well known: Mead, Greiffenstein and Munger among them. Others are less known but worth considering. One of them is Feldin Buckner.

Buckner was the slave of a Judge Buckner in Kentucky. When Judge Buckner moved to Missouri, he freed Feldin... or "Fielding," depending on the source. Feldin Buckner married and had a large family. We know from the birthplaces of his eight children that the family moved to Iowa and Nebraska before they arrived in Kansas in the late 1850s, settling along the Whitewater.

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Commentary
5:30 am
Tue January 13, 2015

Recognizing A Major Event In Wichita's History

A black granite monument erected in 2007 with names of the victims lost in the Piatt Street Plane Crash.
Credit Carla Eckels / KMUW

This month marks the 50th anniversary of a KC-135 crashing into a predominantly African American neighborhood in northeast Wichita. This was more than just a neighborhood with a particular racial makeup, however. It represented the postwar suburban dream for Wichita’s African American community.

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Commentary
5:30 am
Tue December 30, 2014

The Architects of Justice

Credit ensh / Flickr / Creative Commons

The meaning of the words justice served relies on the social, political and legal contexts in which it is applied.

Two 19th-century U.S. Supreme Court cases reflect how the Court’s decisions can be swayed by contemporary racial politics. In its 1857 Dred Scott v. Sandford decision, the Court declared that African Americans could not sue for freedom in federal court because they were not considered citizens. This decision reversed 28 years of precedent, reflecting more the heightened division over slavery than impartial justice.

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Commentary
10:57 am
Tue December 2, 2014

How Do We Sell Our City?

Credit vansassa / flickr

The recent controversy with Believable Brands or the efforts of the Visioneering Wichita project a few years ago are part of a recent trend where Wichita leaders bring in outside firms to help the city market itself.

This was not always the case.

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Commentary
5:30 am
Tue November 18, 2014

Pizza and Coke Behind The Iron Curtain

Credit Maarten / Flickr / Creative Commons

When I was a youngster in Wichita in the 1980s, I knew that the Soviets were the "bad guys" and that the world would be destroyed in the event of World War III, thanks to the Evil Empire. Like dozens of cities in America, locals asserted that our hometown would be one of the first to be obliterated in a nuclear war.

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Commentary
1:56 pm
Tue November 4, 2014

The Subversive History Of Dashiell Hammett

Dashiell Hammett
Credit Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

  American readers know Dashiell Hammett as the author of hard-boiled detective classics, like The Maltese Falcon, and as the long-time romantic partner of playwright Lillian Helmann.

We’re often less familiar with his radical beliefs in equality and political freedom that formed the foundation of his characters’ moral compasses and provided the backdrop to the uncertainty, darkness and ethical conflicts that transform his detective stories into literary fiction.

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Commentary
5:00 am
Tue October 7, 2014

Where Are We, Really?

Credit Sue Clark (perpetualplum) / Flickr / Creative Commons

Wichitans today think of our city as part of the Midwest. Into the 1920s, however, Wichita saw itself as Southwestern, part of a region that included Texas and Oklahoma.

Cattle drives from Texas and railroad links confirmed this orientation. Promoters described the city as “Queen City of the Greater Southwest.” By 1910, Wichita saw itself as the capital of an “Empire of the Southwest,” a trade area consisting of Oklahoma and the Texas panhandle.

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