Past and Present

Commentary
5:00 am
Tue March 11, 2014

How A Digital Database Revealed The Early Days Of Delano

Historians will always need to visit archives and libraries, although it is truly amazing how much information is available in digital form.

A few months ago, I was looking at a Sedgwick County mapping database and was surprised when a search for material on Delano turned up a document for the community of Elgin, platted in early 1871. A quick search turned up an almost identical plat for the community of Delano a few months later. Clearly, one replaced the other.

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Commentary
5:00 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Past and Present: The Anniversary Of A Continuing Battle

President Lyndon Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Credit Wikimedia Commons

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This landmark legislation made it illegal to discriminate against someone based upon their race or place of birth.

Before 1964, the experiences of transplanted Africans in this country were dramatically influenced by slavery and Jim Crow racial segregation. During the past 50 years, many African Americans, under the protection of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, have achieved a level of social and economic mobility that their ancestors could only have dreamt of.

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Commentary
5:00 am
Tue February 11, 2014

Valentine's Day, Murder And The Rise Of The FBI

Al Capone is a bad Valentine
Credit Wikimedia Commons

On February 14th, 1929, Chicago’s North Side neighborhood of Lincoln Park erupted into violence, leaving dead seven members of Al Capone’s and Bugs Moran’s rival gangs.

For the next 10 months, newspaper headlines announced leads that directed police to reluctant witnesses, the charred remains of the getaway car, and eventually to the single conviction of Fred Burke.

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Commentary
5:00 am
Tue January 28, 2014

An Alternate History For Kansas Day

Credit Wikimedia Commons

One nice thing about teaching Kansas history is that it is easy to draw a state map: just create a rectangle with one corner nibbled off.

This map could have been very different, however.

Our story begins in 1854, with the creation of the massive Territory of Kansas that extended from Missouri to the Continental Divide. With Utah on its western border, territorial Kansas included both Pike’s Peak and Bent’s Fort.

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Commentary
5:00 am
Tue January 14, 2014

Past and Present: Dr. King and The Greatness of Service

Martin Luther King, Jr., memorial in Washington, D.C.
Credit Cocoabiscuit / Flickr / Creative Commons

As we prepare again to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., one of the ironies of the holiday and King’s memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC, is that King, himself, was far more modest in how he wished to be remembered.

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Commentary
5:00 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Past and Present: How Brown v. BOE Could Have Happened Earlier

Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site
Credit J. Stephen Conn / Flickr / Creative Commons

2014 marks the 60th anniversary of the landmark civil rights case, Brown v. Board of Education. However, Brown could have been decided one year earlier, if not for some unusual circumstances that brought the lawyers back to the Supreme Court to argue the case… for a second time.

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Commentary
5:00 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Past and Present: American Celebrations

Credit maureen lunn / Flickr / Creative Commons

Traditionally, Christians marked December as the season of Advent, paralleling the role of Lent before Easter. Christmas celebrations were to begin at Christmas. That practice has been under siege for generations, with Christmas, it seems, now threatening to engulf Thanksgiving.

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Commentary
5:00 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Past and Present: Holidays Gone Missing

A Walmart Black Friday sale
Credit laurieofindy / Flickr / Creative Commons

During the past few years, the holiday shopping season has undergone a dramatic transformation.

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Commentary
5:00 am
Tue November 19, 2013

Past and Present: An Early Draft Of A More Perfect Union

A draft of the Articles of Confederation
Credit liday / Flickr / Creative Commons

In the summer of 1776, the Second Continental Congress officially declared independence from the British crown, but it also drafted the Articles of Confederation.

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Commentary
5:00 am
Tue November 5, 2013

Past and Present: Wichita State's Oldest Building

Fiske Hall has served many functions since its dedication in 1906.
Credit Fletcher Powell / KMUW

The oldest surviving structure on Wichita State’s campus, Fiske Hall’s story began in 1904 with a donation from Charlotte Fiske of Massachusetts to construct a new men’s dormitory at what was then Fairmount College.

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