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.

Starting January 15.

The Fugitive Slave Law

Feb 10, 2015
Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

On February 12th, 1793, Congress passed the first Fugitive Slave Law. It was an addition to the U.S. Constitution’s Article 4 that required states to give “full faith and credit” to other states’ laws.

stock photo

Since 1964, to assist in the development of small business in the United States, the Service Corps of Retired Executives, popularly known as SCORE, has provided free and confidential mentoring to individuals who are either considering starting a business, are in the process of starting a business, or are already in business.

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.

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.

Jamelle Bouie / Wikimedia Commons

Protests stemming from recent grand jury decisions related to Michael Brown and Eric Garner have featured the refrain “black lives do matter.”

Sadly, one of the unsavory aspects of American history is that there are innumerable documented instances of where it was apparent that black lives, indeed, did not matter.

How Do We Sell Our City?

Dec 2, 2014
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.

Pizza and Coke Behind The Iron Curtain

Nov 18, 2014
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.

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.

League of Women Voters of California LWVC, Flickr Creative Commons

In two weeks, the nation will express its political will in the midterm elections of 2014. Unfortunately, this election cycle, similar to previous ones in American history, features discourse related to African American voter suppression.

Where Are We, Really?

Oct 7, 2014
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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