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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.

  • Fundraising and political consultant Annie Presley talks with UMKC’s Allan Katz, a former U.S. ambassador to Portugal, about her eventful life and new book – a guide to organizing important information and wishes before you die. Co-author Christy Howard joins them.
    Read This When I’m Dead - Annie Presley
    Wednesday, May 27, 2015
    Plaza Branch

    Having spent a quarter-century in the political arena, Annie Presley has had a full life: enduring a near-plane crash with Missouri Gov. John Ashcroft and Sen. Christopher Bond and sitting tight for an hour with Margaret Thatcher while a couple of armed protesters were hauled to jail, among other memorable episodes.

    Part of living, too, is preparing for death. And Presley and co-author Christy Howard have written Read This ... When I'm Dead: A Guide to Getting Your Stuff Together for Your Loved Ones, a fill-in-the-blank guide to organizing your key information, thoughts, and wishes for your heirs.

    Presley, a native Missourian and accomplished fundraising and political consultant, discusses both her eventful career and her new book on planning for the end in a public conversation with University of Missouri-Kansas City professor and former U.S. ambassador to Portugal Allan Katz.

  • Closing the Civil War Sesquicentennial series, historians Terry L. Beckenbaugh and Ethan S. Rafuse of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth assess how the North prevailed and why the Civil War remains so compelling today.
    Why the North Won and Why It All Matters
    Tuesday, May 26, 2015
    Central Library

    After four of the bloodiest years of warfare in its history, peace finally had come to the United States in May 1865. For two glorious days, Washington, D.C., residents watched as the mighty Union armies that had compelled the surrender of the Confederacy’s main forces marched down Pennsylvania Avenue in triumph. “The rebels,” Ulysses S. Grant proclaimed a few weeks earlier, “are our countrymen again.”

    Historians Terry L. Beckenbaugh and Ethan S. Rafuse of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth close the Library’s Civil War Sesquicentennial series with a discussion of how the North prevailed and the South lay broken and defeated, what the four years of fighting left unresolved, and why the Civil War remains so compelling 150 years after the final shots were fired.

  • Pulitzer winner Robin Givhan discusses her new book about the night in 1973 that a team of U.S. designers stole the show from France’s best, helped by a groundbreaking group of models featuring 10 African Americans. It changed fashion forever.
    The Battle of Versailles
    Thursday, May 21, 2015
    Plaza Branch

    Fashion changed forever on November 28, 1973, when a team of top U.S. designers—including Oscar de la Renta, Bill Blass, and Anne Klein—faced off on the runway against Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Cardin, and the rest of a well-heeled French lineup considered the best in the world. The lavish spectacle in King Louis XIV’s Palace of Versailles drew many of the world’s social elite.

    The Americans stole the show, in no small part due to a dynamic and groundbreaking group of models featuring 10 African Americans.

    Pulitzer Prize-winning fashion critic Robin Givhan of The Washington Post discusses her new book about a night that altered the industry’s view of race, gender, sexuality, and economics for decades to come.

  • Behind Dwight Eisenhower’s dry smile and simple tastes was a brilliant, intellectual strategist who navigated the nation through a perilous time. Former Newsweek editor-at-large Evan Thomas launches the Eisenhower 125 series with a discussion of his new book, Ike’s Bluff.
    Ike’s Bluff - Evan Thomas
    Wednesday, May 20, 2015
    Plaza Branch

    Dwight Eisenhower was a man of simple tastes but decisive action. Behind the dry smile was a brilliant, intellectual tactician, an attribute—also evident at the poker table—that served to keep dozens of Cold War standoffs from flaring into full-scale war during his two terms as president.

    Former Newsweek editor-at-large Evan Thomas draws from his book Ike's Bluff: President Eisenhower's Secret Battle to Save the World in discussing the central Kansas war hero turned commander-in-chief, who navigated the nation through some of the most perilous times the world has known.

  • The University of Missouri’s Earnest L. Perry Jr. examines  the civil rights-era tug of war between activist organizations and the African American press, including The Kansas City Call and its longtime editor and publisher, Lucile Bluford.
    Civil Rights: The Struggle Within - Earnest L. Perry, Jr.
    Thursday, May 14, 2015
    Central Library

    The Kansas City Call and its longtime editor and publisher, Lucile Bluford, epitomized the role of the African American press in the civil rights movement. The newspaper advocated forcefully for the political and economic interests of its readers, forging relationships with such key organizations as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

    Beneath outward displays of unity, however, were internal disagreements between the press and activist groups about what direction the fight for equality would take and, often, who should be its voice. Earnest L. Perry Jr., an associate professor of journalism at the University of Missouri, examines that struggle, what it entailed for Bluford and The Call, and the implications for today’s social justice movement.

  • A 20-year study headed by sociologist Mariah Evans found “the presence of books in the home” to be the top predictor of a child’s ultimate educational attainment. She sits down with Library Director Crosby Kemper III to discuss the link.
    The Book Benefit - Mariah Evans
    Tuesday, May 12, 2015
    Central Library

    The relationship is clear: The more books a family owns, the greater the educational gains are for children.

    Mariah Evans, a sociologist at the University of Nevada-Reno, headed a 20-year, worldwide study that found “the presence of books in the home” to be the top predictor of whether a child will attain a high level of education – more significant than parents’ education, occupation, or class. On average, kids growing up amid an abundance of books get three more years of schooling than those from bookless homes.

    Evans examines those findings and sits down with Library Director Crosby Kemper III for a public conversation on the issue.

  • Kansas City-born LaShonda Katrice Barnett joins journalist Eric Wesson of The Call for a discussion of Barnett’s much-praised debut novel – about a female journalist escaping the Jim Crow South of the early 1900s and fighting injustice in Kansas City through her African American newspaper.
    Jam on the Vine - LaShonda Katrice Barnett
    Tuesday, April 21, 2015
    Plaza Branch

    LaShonda Katrice Barnett’s debut novel—about a black female journalist escaping the early-1900s Jim Crow laws of the South and fighting injustice in Kansas City through her African American newspaper—has drawn praise from the Chicago Tribune, The Wall Street Journal, and Oprah Winfrey’s O magazine, among other publications.

    The Kansas City-born author sits down with journalist Eric Wesson of the city’s own landmark African-American newspaper, The Call, for a public conversation about the elegantly written work of historical fiction, which gains resonance from today’s social discontent. Events in Jam on the Vine lead up to and include the Red Summer of 1919, when race riots broke out in a number of American cities.

  • German-Nigerian author Jennifer Teege joins the Library’s Kaite Stover for a public conversation about Teege’s awful discovery – that her grandfather was Amon Goeth, the vicious Nazi commandant chillingly depicted by Ralph Fiennes in Schindler’s List.
    My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me - Jennifer Teege
    Thursday, April 16, 2015
    Central Library

    Sifting through the stacks of her local library in Hamburg, Germany, Jennifer Teege happened upon a book that first fascinated and then staggered her. Recognizing photos of her mother and grandmother, she made the horrifying discovery that her grandfather was Amon Goeth – the vicious Nazi commandant chillingly depicted by Ralph Fiennes in Schindler’s List.

    The more Teege read, the more certain she became: If Goeth had met her, a German-Nigerian black woman, he would have killed her.

    Teege, who was given up by her mother when very young, sits down with the Library’s Kaite Stover during National Library Week for a public conversation about the revelation and Teege’s subsequent quest to unearth and fully comprehend her family’s haunted history. She chronicles the story in her book with award-winning journalist Nikola Sellmair.

  • On the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s death, historian Richard Brookhiser discusses his new book about our 16th president and the guidance and inspiration he took from the lives and works of George Washington, Thomas Paine, and Thomas Jefferson.
    Founders' Son: A Life of Abraham Lincoln - Richard Brookhiser
    Wednesday, April 15, 2015
    Central Library

    For Abraham Lincoln, the road to the future always began in the past – with the Founding Fathers, who inspired him to take up public life, showed him how to win arguments, and laid out his nation’s principles.

    On the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s death, historian Richard Brookhiser delivers an illuminating new look at our 16th and arguably greatest president.

  • Ashley Milne-Tyte, a regular on the public radio program Marketplace and producer and host of the popular podcast The Broad Experience, examines the ways in which gender affects people’s working lives.
    Being Boss-y: A Conversation About Women and Men in the Workplace - Ashley Milne-Tyte
    Tuesday, April 7, 2015
    Plaza Branch

    Women comprise about half of the U.S. labor force, including half of all professional and management positions. But they account for fewer than 15 percent of the executive officers of Fortune 500 companies.

    How are both women and men perceived in the workplace? How does that affect the way they feel about themselves? Ashley Milne-Tyte, a regular contributor to Public Radio International’s Marketplace and producer and host of the podcast The Broad Experience: A Conversation About Women, the Workplace, and Success, examines the ways in which gender affects people’s working lives.

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