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.

  • Kansas City Star sports reporter Blair Kerkhoff discusses the history of the NAIA basketball tournament in Kansas City and explains why it was instrumental in the demolition of racial barriers in college athletics.
    Blair Kerkhoff: NAIA Basketball & the Civil Rights Movement
    Sunday, February 19, 2012
    Central Library

    Kansas City Star sports reporter Blair Kerkhoff explains why the NAIA basketball tournament in Kansas City was instrumental in the demolition of racial barriers in college athletics.

    Long before the NCAA and NIT tournaments accepted them, college basketball teams from historically black colleges and universities found a home in Kansas City. The basketball tournament of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics was a fixture on the city’s sports calendar; but to African Americans around the country, it meant something special.

  • In his new memoir playwright/novelist/poet Zakes Mda recalls his coming of age under South African apartheid and his love of jazz, comic books, political discourse and writing.
    Zakes Mda: Sometimes There Is A Void
    Thursday, February 16, 2012
    Central Library

    In his memoir Sometimes There Is A Void award-winning South African author Zakes Mda chronicles his youth from boyhood in Soweto to his exile and coming of age in Basutoland (now Lesotho).

  • Filmmaker Gary Jenkins unveils his new documentary about the Underground Railroad that helped slaves escape the Kansas City area to safety in the north before and during the Civil War.
    Freedom Seekers: Stories from the Western Underground Railroad
    Wednesday, February 15, 2012
    Plaza Branch

    Local filmmaker Gary Jenkins unveils his new documentary about the western branch of the Underground Railroad that before and during the Civil War transported escaped slaves from the Kansas City area to freedom in the north.

    At a post-screening discussion Jenkins will be joined by Jimmy S. Johnson III, whose great- grandfather escaped a Platte County slave farm, and William O. Wagnon, who has worked to preserve Topeka’s Ritchie House, once a stop on the Underground Railroad.

  • Just in time for Valentine’s Day: UMKC’s Jennifer Phegley provides insights into Victorian “dating” and wedding practices that continue to be embraced by modern brides and grooms…and asks if the Victorians’ ideas about romantic have left us with unhealthy expectations.
    Jennifer Phegley - Courtship and Marriage in Victorian England
    Thursday, February 9, 2012
    Central Library

    Jennifer Phegley, chair of the Department of English at the University of Missouri – Kansas City, examines how many of our modern marriage traditions – including wedding dresses and honeymoons – have their roots in the Victorian era.

  • Historian Adam Arenson examines the efforts of St. Louis’ intellectuals and mercantile elite to make their city the capital of a vast Western empire in the wake of the Civil War.
    Adam Arenson - The Great Heart of the Republic: St. Louis and the Cultural Civil War
    Wednesday, February 8, 2012
    Plaza Branch

    Adam Arenson, assistant professor of history at the University of Texas at El Paso, examines the efforts of St. Louis’ intellectuals and mercantile elite to make their city the capital of a vast Western empire in the wake of the Civil War.

    That ambitious dream was never realized, but the city grew to be a vital cultural and commercial hub. The largest city along the border between free and slave states, St. Louis became a microcosm of the dueling moral systems and competing national visions that dominated mid-19th century America.

  • Randy Roberts discusses how a 1944 college football contest played by West Point cadets and Annapolis midshipmen captivated an American public seeking heroism and hope.
    Randy Roberts - A Team for America: The Army-Navy Game that Rallied a Nation
    Thursday, February 2, 2012
    Central Library

    Purdue University historian Randy Roberts discusses the iconic 1944 football game between the undefeated cadets of West Point and the midshipmen of Annapolis.

  • Robert Litan discusses the life and art of his father, David Israel Litan, whose lithographs portraying scenes of Kansas and aspects of Jewish life and faith sold widely throughout the Sunflower State during his lifetime, most of which was spent in Wichita.
    Robert Litan - From Wichita to the Wailing Wall: The Art of David Israel Litan
    Tuesday, January 31, 2012
    Central Library

    David Israel Litan made his living in the oil business, but art was his passion and his gift. His lithographs portraying scenes of Kansas and aspects of Jewish life and faith sold widely throughout the Sunflower State during his lifetime, most of which was spent in Wichita.

    The artist’s son, Robert Litan, noted economist and senior executive at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, discusses his father’s art and faith.

  • Civic leader and Southwest graduate Edward T. Matheny Jr. takes a fond look at his alma mater. Matheny is the author of two books on the history of Southwest High School, The Rise and Fall of Excellence and Once More with Feeling.
    Edward T. Matheny, Jr.: History of Southwest High School, Revisited
    Sunday, January 29, 2012
    Central Library

    Edward T. Matheny, Jr., a civic leader who graduated from Southwest High School in 1940, takes a fond look back at the proud past of his alma mater. Matheny is the author of two books on the history of Southwest High School: The Rise and Fall of Excellence and Once More with Feeling.

  • University of Pennsylvania historian Stephanie McCurry contends the South sowed the seeds of its demise in creating a regime that excluded white women and slaves, which together comprised a majority of the population.
    Stephanie McCurry: Confederate Reckoning
    Thursday, January 26, 2012
    Plaza Branch

    University of Pennsylvania historian Stephanie McCurry offers a new interpretation of the Confederacy that contends the South sowed the seeds of its demise in creating a regime that excluded white women and slaves, which together comprised a majority of the population.

    Confederate Reckoning was a finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for History. McCurry’s talk is the keynote address for the Richard D. McKinzie Research Symposium.

    Co-sponsored by the University of Missouri-Kansas City Department of History.

  • Military historian Richard B. Frank examines the new international scholarship on the first five years of China’s “War of Resistance” against Japan, from 1937-42.
    Richard B. Frank: China’s “War of Resistance” 1937-42
    Tuesday, January 24, 2012
    Central Library

    Richard B. Frank examines the new international scholarship on the first five years of China’s “War of Resistance” against Japan from 1937-42.