(Kansas City, Missouri) - By the time of Robert E. Lee's surrender at Appomattox in 1865, the land and people of western Missouri had suffered as much as any during the Civil War. The edict known as "Order No. 11" and the Federal army that carried it out had depopulated several counties, devastated homes and farms, and left deep scars—"a burnt district"—that took decades to heal.
Focusing on families and communities, Parkville, Missouri, author Tom Rafiner discusses the shattering impact and the region's recovery on Sunday, May 17, 2015, at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St. His presentation, Missouri's Burnt District, 1865-1870, begins at 2 p.m.
The event is part of the Missouri Valley Sundays series, a program of the Library's Missouri Valley Special Collections made possible in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Emptied of civilians and ravaged after Order No. 11 was handed down in 1863, the Burnt District quickly was able to reestablish itself and create a new identity. However, with the reconstruction came a decades-long blanket of silence about the region's painful past.
Rafiner, an independent historian who has devoted the past 11 years to researching the topic, draws from his recent book Cinders and Silence: A Chronicle of Missouri's Burnt District in discussing the metamorphosis that took place in the area.
Born and raised in Jackson County, Missouri, Rafiner earned a bachelor's degree in Elizabethan drama and English from the University of Missouri and a master's in English from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He also is the author of Caught Between Three Fires: Cass County, Mo., Chaos, & Order No. 11.
Admission to the event is free. RSVP at kclibrary.org or call 816.701.3407. Free parking is available in the Library District parking garage at 10th and Baltimore.