Event Audio

To listen to an audio recording of a previous Library special event, click the icon. The audio file will launch the media player on your computer.

The most recent recording displays at the top. The Library offers recordings only with the permission of the presenter. Please allow 7-10 days for the recording to be posted.

  • Historian Leon Litwack discusses the 1963 event that gave us Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech and spurred the Kennedy Administration to advance civil rights legislation.
    Leon Litwack: The 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington
    Thursday, February 28, 2013
    Plaza Branch

    In the summer of 1963 more than 200,000 demonstrators descended on the nation’s capital to participate in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The event was highlighted by Martin Luther King’s memorable “I Have A Dream” speech and pressured the Kennedy administration into initiating a strong federal civil rights bill.

  • Pulitzer Prize-winning author  Tim Weiner explains how the FBI became the most formidable intelligence force in American history and how the Bureau has spied on anyone it considers subversive ... including presidents.
    Enemies: A History of the FBI
    Wednesday, February 27, 2013
    Plaza Branch

    Its reputation is that of America’s incorruptible police force. Yet the primary mission of the FBI is secret intelligence, according to Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tim Weiner. In his new book Weiner reveals how presidents have used the agency as the most formidable intelligence force in American history, and how the bureau has spied on anyone it considers subversive … including presidents.

    The FBI’s secret intelligence and surveillance techniques have created a tug-of-war between national security and civil liberties, creating a tension that strains the very fabric of a free society.

  • Dean Young, this year’s Carolyn S. Benton Cockefair Chair Writer-in-Residence at UMKC, reads from his poetry and discusses his work with Angela Elam of KCUR’s New Letters on the Air.
    Dean Young: Between Reality and Imagination
    Monday, February 25, 2013
    Plaza Branch

    Dean Young, this year's Carolyn S. Benton Cockefair Chair Writer-in-Residence at UMKC, reads from his poetry and discusses his work during a public conversation with Angela Elam of KCUR's New Letters on the Air.

    Young's poetry has been described "as entertaining as a three-ring circus and as imaginative as a canvas by Hieronymus Bosch." Using surrealist techniques like collage, he often blurs the boundaries between reality and imagination.

  • Author Henry Wiencek examines our first president’s long struggle with the issue of slavery, an experience that moved him to free all his slaves upon his death.
    An Imperfect God: George Washington, His Slaves and the Creation of America - Henry Wiencek
    Wednesday, February 20, 2013
    Plaza Branch

    George Washington was a slave owner, a fact which he described as his “only unavoidable subject of regret.” So much did he regret it that in his will Washington made the startling decision to free his slaves. Author Henry Wiencek, who in 2012 spoke at the Library about Thomas Jefferson’s attitudes toward slavery, now examines the relationship between the most iconic of our Founding Fathers and the “peculiar institution.”

  • A screening of the Denzel Washington film The Great Debaters is followed by biographer Robert Farnsworth’s discussion of the life and work of African-American poet Melvin B. Tolson.
    Robert Farnsworth: Beyond the Great Debaters: The Real Melvin B. Tolson
    Wednesday, February 6, 2013
    Plaza Branch

    Celebrate the 115th birthday of Melvin Tolson, a one-time Kansas City resident who graduated from Lincoln High School and eventually became the first Poet Laureate of Liberia.

    Start with a screening of the 2007 Denzel Washington film The Great Debaters, the Hollywood version about how Tolson led black college students to a 1935 national debate championship.

  • Historian Ethan S. Rafuse examines a tumultuous year in the history of the Army of the Potomac, when  Gen. “Fighting” Joe Hooker took over a demoralized and bruised force and restored its effectiveness, only to lose the battle of Chancellorsville and be replaced by George Meade.
    “Fighting” Joe Hooker and the Challenge of Command in 1863 - Ethan S. Rafuse
    Thursday, January 24, 2013
    Central Library

    Historian Ethan S. Rafuse examines a tumultuous year in the history of the Army of the Potomac, when Gen. “Fighting” Joe Hooker took over a demoralized and bruised Union force and restored its effectiveness, only to lose the battle of Chancellorsville and be replaced by George Meade.

    Rafuse is professor of military history at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth.

    Co-sponsored by the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College Foundation.

  • Kauffman Foundation senior scholar Brink Lindsey analyzes how the rich are getting richer while the poor are trapped in a vicious cycle. According to his new book, narrowing the growing wealth gap demands a major investment in “human capital.”
    Human Capitalism - Brink Lindsey
    Wednesday, January 23, 2013
    Central Library

    Narrowing the growing gap between the wealthy and the rest of us demands a major investment in “human capital,” according to Kauffman Foundation senior scholar Brink Lindsey.

    In his new book Lindsey analyzes how the rich are getting richer while the poor are trapped in a vicious cycle. He offers an ambitious plan calling for educational reform, encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation, increasing early intervention for at-risk children, low-wage job subsidies, and penal reform.

    Formerly, Lindsey was vice president for research at the Cato Institute.

  • Biographer Robert Farnsworth looks at the life, death, and lingering legacy of Leon Jordan, a one-time police officer and educator who founded Freedom, Inc., and became Missouri’s most powerful black politician before being gunned down in an unsolved 1970 assassination.
    Leon Mercer Jordan - Robert Farnsworth
    Sunday, January 20, 2013
    Central Library

    Biographer Robert Farnsworth discusses his new eBook about the life, death, and legacy of Leon Jordan, a one-time police officer and educator who founded Freedom, Inc., and became Missouri’s most powerful black politician before being gunned down in a 1970 assassination outside his Kansas City tavern.

  • Steve Kraske of KCUR’s Up to Date moderates a panel of experts discussing Kansas City’s financial planning and budgeting process. This will be the first of four forums identifying and exploring key municipal public policy issues facing Kansas City.
    What Is Kansas City’s Long-Range Financial Plan?
    Thursday, January 17, 2013
    Central Library

    Steve Kraske of KCUR’s Up to Date moderates a panel discussion about Kansas City’s financial planning. Featured city officials and experts include City Manager Troy Schulte, Chair of the City Council Finance Committee Jan Marcason, certified public accountant and representative of the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City James Gegg, and University of Kansas Associate Professor of Public Administration Alfred Ho.

  • Drawing on exclusive access to Joseph Kennedy’s papers, historian David Nasaw offers a portrait of a complicated man – financier, filmmaker, kingmaker, and father of a president.
    The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy - David Nasaw
    Tuesday, December 4, 2012
    Central Library

    Was he an anti-Semite and a Nazi sympathizer? An appeaser and isolationist?

    For all his public activities – financier, film producer, kingmaker, father of a president - Joseph P. Kennedy remains an elusive figure. Historian David Nasaw draws on exclusive access to Kennedy’s papers to explore the complicated personality.

    Nasaw is Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. Distinguished Professor of American History at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.