Past and Present

Three Wichita State history professors, Drs. Robin Henry, Robert Weems, and Jay Price, will talk about Wichita history, parallels between current events and historical happenings, and how historical events got us to where we are today.

Past & Present is also available through iTunes. Listen or subscribe here.

The summer of 1958 was significant in the story of Wichita and the nation. On May 31, young entrepreneurs Dan and Frank Carney opened their first Pizza Hut at Bluff and Kellogg. During the summer of that year, pizza’s popularity in Wichita took off.

Meanwhile, in downtown Wichita, another set of youth were making their mark. On July 19, ten African American students entered the Dockum drug store at Douglas and Broadway, sat down at the soda fountain, and when they refused to leave, caused the store to shut down the lunch counter.

Van L. Johnson

Wichita, like many other U.S. cities during the early-to-mid twentieth century, placed restrictions on how African Americans could use municipal swimming pools. According to numerous local blacks who lived during this era, the pool at Riverside Park was especially notorious in this regard.

The fortunes of local African American swimmers improved dramatically in 1969 with the construction of a swimming pool at McAdams Park. This facility, created by the renowned black architect Charles McAfee, received a design award from the American Institute of Architects in 1970.

Hugo Phan / KMUW

This commentary originally aired on June 30, 2015.

Those shopping and eating at Bradley Fair in northeast Wichita probably don’t realize that they are visiting what could have been the community of Manchester.

2017 marks the 80th anniversary of the Wichita flag, designed in 1937 by Cecil McAlester. Just a few years ago, few people knew that our city even had a flag. Today, it is everywhere, its bold shapes an emblem of local pride. 

The year 2017 represents the 50th anniversary of the “long hot summer” of 1967. During this tumultuous period, 176 cities (including Wichita) experienced racial disturbances.

wikipedia.org

This originally aired on May 31, 2016.

On May 31, 1790, President George Washington signed the United States’ first copyright bill into law. A short, half-page statute, it granted copyright to books, maps and charts for 14 years, with the option to renew for another 14 years if the author was still alive.

During the 150th celebration of the Chisholm Trail, knowing the exact route of the trail is a lesson in history. The CT150 committee has created a map that outlines the route in Kansas...or at least one version of the route. This map uses the markers of Tom Frazee and the Kansas Cattletown Coalition that followed the trail from Caldwell up to Abilene. It works well for the purposes of commemorating the route.

Situated between World War II and Vietnam, the Korean War is often referred to as America’s “forgotten war.” Despite its relative murkiness in the context of public consciousness, the Korean War and its aftermath is arguably America’s most fascinating recent military endeavor.

This commentary originally aired on April 19, 2016.

When does a current event become history? As a historian of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, this transition has already occurred for the subject matter of my work. While new research can deepen my understanding of people, places, and events, very rarely does the historical landscape seismically shift under my feet.

During the American Civil War, Abraham Lincoln believed that dissenters remaining within loyal states posed a threat to the Union. 

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