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.

  • Ethan S. Rafuse leads a panel of colleagues with the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth in examining the momentous year of 1864, when the balance of the Civil War may have tipped to the North.
    1864: The Year of Decision?
    Wednesday, December 10, 2014
    Central Library

    The Civil War may have reached a turning point in 1864, when Ulysses S. Grant became general-in-chief of the Union armies, Confederate defeats continued to mount, and Northern voters in November sustained the presidency of Abraham Lincoln.

    On the 150th anniversary of Union Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman’s arrival in Savannah — approaching the end of a 36-day, 265-mile March to the Sea that was both materially and psychologically devastating to the South — military historian Ethan S. Rafuse leads a panel of colleagues with the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth in a discussion of the events of the year. Did they, indeed, tip the balance of the war decisively and irretrievably to the North?

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

  • Historian Sonny Gibson discusses his new coffee table-style book on Kansas City’s African American past, the product of a 25-year effort to “raise the cultural consciousness of the current generation and set right the history books for generations to come.”
    Kansas City Early Negro History - Sonny Gibson
    Tuesday, December 2, 2014
    Central Library

    Sonny Gibson began his 25-year effort to unearth Kansas City’s African American past with serious doubts. So much was unrecorded and seemingly unknown that he feared “the history of ‘Negroes’ was as good as lost.”

    He pressed on, however, scouring libraries, archives, flea markets, and old book stores. He waded through old magazines, newspapers, and other memorabilia. What Gibson found was a trove of materials – photographs, handbills, advertisements, newspaper clippings, social announcements, and other artifacts dating to the 1860s – that he features in his new coffee table-style book, Kansas City Early Negro History.

  • Kansas City’s Henry W. Bloch co-founded H&R Block Inc. in 1955 and helped build it into the world’s largest tax preparation company. During Global Entrepreneurship Week, he sits down with son Tom Bloch to outline what others can learn from his experiences.
    Seven Lessons for Entrepreneurs - Henry W. Bloch, Tom Bloch
    Tuesday, November 18, 2014
    Central Library

    One of Kansas City’s greatest entrepreneurs, Henry W. Bloch co-founded H&R Block Inc. in 1955 and helped build it into the world’s largest tax preparation company.

    Now 92, he sits down with his son, Tom Bloch, for a conversation covering seven timeless lessons for entrepreneurs gleaned from his experiences. The presentation is held in conjunction with Global Entrepreneurship Week and the paperback release of the younger Bloch’s 2010 book Many Happy Returns: The Story of Henry Bloch, America’s Tax Man.

    Tom Bloch worked closely with his father at H&R Block for nearly two decades. He left the company in 1995 to teach in inner-city Kansas City, and co-founded University Academy.

  • Historian Bill Tuttle details  the century-long fight for freedom by African Americans at the University of Kansas – an institution, like others in Lawrence, that once congratulated itself on an open admissions policy while enforcing strict racial separation.
    Separate But Not Equal - Bill Tuttle
    Sunday, November 16, 2014
    Central Library

    Although Kansas joined the Union as a free state, African Americans entering this new land looking for homes and livelihoods encountered a rigid color line. The conflict between lofty ideals and racist realities became a central theme of the African American experience in Kansas.

    In Separate But Not Equal: The Quest for African American Civil Rights at the University of Kansas, 1865-1970, historian Bill Tuttle details the story of a century-old fight for freedom at the state’s flagship university – which mirrored many Lawrence institutions in congratulating itself on its racially open admissions policy while enforcing until the 1960s a strict Jim Crow system of racial separation.

  • Sandra Moran discusses her debut novel – about three women united by love and kinship, struggling to conform to the social norms of their times – which has won raves and awards from the LGBT community since its 2013 release.
    Letters Never Sent - Sandra Moran
    Thursday, November 13, 2014
    Central Library

    Sandra Moran’s first novel, Letters Never Sent, resonated deeply in the LGBT community when it was released a little more than a year ago.

    She discusses her story of three women, united by love and kinship and struggling to conform to the social norms of their times, which won 2013 Rainbow Awards for best lesbian historical romance and best lesbian debut novel. This year, it earned the Golden Crown Literary Society’s General Fiction Award and Ann Bannon Popular Choice Award.

    An assistant adjunct professor of anthropology at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Moran previously worked as a reporter for The Topeka Capital-Journal and on the staff of Kansas Gov. Bill Graves.

  • The U.S. remains the world’s leader in science, lifted in part by trailblazers from undergraduate institutions of only modest scientific renown. The University of Wisconsin’s J. Rogers Hollingsworth examines how that “outsider” status feeds an entrepreneurial spirit that promotes creativity.
    Creativity and Entrepreneurship in American Science: From Rags to Riches
    Wednesday, November 12, 2014
    Central Library

    The United States remains the world’s pacesetter in science. The origins of many of its breakthroughs may surprise you, however. A sizable number of pioneering scientists were “outsiders,” emerging from undergraduate institutions of only modest scientific renown.

    That outsider’s status, the University of Wisconsin’s J. Rogers Hollingsworth says, fosters an entrepreneurial spirit that feeds creativity. A professor emeritus of history and sociology Wisconsin, he discusses his analysis of the institutions and scientists associated with major discoveries of the past century.

    Hollingsworth is currently a visiting scholar at the BioCircuits Institute at the University of California, San Diego and is a former senior scholar with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The event is co-presented by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

  • Kansas City author and Writers at Work series organizer Whitney Terrell joins accomplished novelist Jayne Anne Phillips in discussing Phillips’ 2013 book based on the real-life murder of a lonely widow and her three children.
    Quiet Dell - Jayne Anne Phillips
    Thursday, November 6, 2014
    Central Library

    Kansas City author and Writers at Work series organizer Whitney Terrell sits down with one of the country’s most accomplished novelists, Jayne Anne Phillips, for a public conversation about her mesmerizing 2013 book based on the real-life murder of a lonely widow and her 14-, 12-, and 9-year-old children. Stephen King hailed it as “the novel of the year.”

    Phillips, a professor of English and director of the MFA program at Rutgers University-Newark, grew up near the scene of the 1931 crime in Quiet Dell, West Virginia. She took an In Cold Blood approach to the story, using real names and details of the case and filling in the characters’ thoughts, perceptions, and relationships.

    Co-sponsored by the Writers at Work Roundtable and the UMKC English Department.

  • Philip White retraces Harry S. Truman’s remarkable (and ultimately successful) effort to salvage the 1948 election in a discussion of his new book, Whistle Stop: How 31,000 Miles of Train Travel, 352 Speeches, and a Little Midwest Gumption Saved the Presidency of Harry Truman.
    Whistle Stop - Philip White
    Wednesday, November 5, 2014
    Central Library

    His approval rating low and his own party disenchanted, Harry Truman had the look of a one-term president — unlikely to win a return to office — in the summer of 1948. With ingenuity born of desperation, his aides hit upon a plan: Take to the rails, crisscrossing the country and putting Truman in front of as many voters as possible.

    Philip White, a guest lecturer at MidAmerica Nazarene University, recalls the remarkable journey in a discussion of his new book Whistle Stop: How 31,000 Miles of Train Travel, 352 Speeches, and a Little Midwest Gumption Saved the Presidency of Harry Truman. The trek, of course, ended with an election-day upset of Republican Thomas E. Dewey.

  • Jeff Clements punctuates the argument in his book that the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision  to ease restrictions on political spending by corporations and labor unions “upended the American ideal that we are a government of people rather than a government  of corporate wealth.”
    Corporations Are Not People - Jeff Clements
    Wednesday, October 29, 2014
    Central Library

    It has been a little more than 4½ years since the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its controversial ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, sharply easing restrictions on political and campaign spending by corporations and labor unions. The argument over its merits has scarcely subsided.

    Supporters hold to the court’s assertion that political speech is “indispensable to decisionmaking in a democracy, and this is no less true because the speech comes from a corporation rather than an individual.” Jeff Clements is among the opponents — along with President Obama and a majority of the U.S. Senate — who see a ruinously unfair advantage for candidates who can cultivate the wealthiest donors. Clements, a former Massachusetts assistant attorney general and the founder of Free Speech for People, a nonpartisan movement to overturn the 2010 decision, makes his case in a discussion of his book, Corporations Are Not People: Reclaiming Democracy from Big Money and Global Corporations.

  • Former Newsweek editor Mark Whitaker discusses his newly released biography of Bill Cosby – covering the well-known triumphs of the iconic comedian, actor, producer, author, educator, and social activist as well as his setbacks and personal dramas.
    Cosby: His Life and Times - Mark Whitaker
    Thursday, October 16, 2014
    Central Library

    He grew up in a Philadelphia housing project, the son of an alcoholic, largely absent father and a loving but overworked mother. A high school dropout, he turned his life around in the Navy, made his way into college, and caught a few early breaks as a standup comedian. From there, Bill Cosby went on to become a national treasure.

    Mark Whitaker, the former editor of Newsweek and later a senior executive with NBC News and CNN Worldwide, discusses his newly released biography of the now 77-year-old creator and star of television’s The Cosby Show. Cosby not only towers as a groundbreaking comedian, producer, and actor but also as an author, educator, and social activist. Whitaker delves, too, into his setbacks and personal dramas, from an affair that sparked public scandal to the murder of his only son.

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