Previous Special Events

Friday, July 26, 2013
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

The trio of Mark Lowry, Raymond DeMarchi, and John Currey present a variety of musical styles performed on percussion instruments from all over the globe.

Appropriate for all ages.


Thursday, July 25, 2013

As the man behind Communism, Karl Marx has been revered as a prophet and blamed for some of the darkest atrocities of modern times. In his new biography of Marx, Jonathan Sperber challenges many of our misconceptions about this political firebrand-turned-London-émigré-journalist, presenting Marx’s personal story within the larger historical stage of a European continent roiling with political and social unrest.

Sperber is the Curators’ Professor of History at the University of Missouri.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Homer Plessy—a man of seven-eighths Caucasian descent and one-eighth African descent who was nevertheless considered black under Louisiana law—boarded a train car reserved for whites and was promptly arrested. Hearing the appeal of his conviction, the U.S. Supreme Court in 1896 upheld the Louisiana statute, thus ushering in a half-century of legally sanctioned segregation under the "separate but equal" doctrine.

Williamjames Hull Hoffer examines that controversial decision and its repercussions in a discussion of his book about the landmark case. Hoffer is associate professor of history at Seton Hall University.


Sunday, July 21, 2013
2:00pm @ Plaza Branch

The 2013 Kansas City Architecture Series examines how historic buildings in Kansas City’s downtown area have been repurposed and given new life.

For the first program Annette Thomas, member of the Historic Kansas City Foundation, discusses the transformation of the old Kansas City Public Library (1897-1960) on 9th Street into the Ozark National Life Insurance Building. This was the topic of her 1997 master’s thesis at UMKC.


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Arguments may ensue on the merits of individual barbecue joints, but no one disputes the extent that the “culture” of B-B-Q has helped define everyday life in Kansas City.

Local filmmakers Kevin Fossland and Martin Diggs are currently filming The Kansas City Barbecue Documentary, which chronicles the city’s cherished barbecue culture. They will share their initial findings and conversations with the people behind the countless competitions, secret sauce, and elaborate tailgating parties.


Friday, July 19, 2013

Part of the 2013 Off-the-Wall Film Series featuring comedies starring Kansas City native Paul Rudd. Rudd shot into the comedy stratosphere playing Peter, a painfully uncool guy desperate to strike up a friendship with the hip Sydney (Jason Segal). The film was noteworthy for Rudd’s off-the-charts comedy improvisations. With Rashida Jones. This title is recommended for adult audiences only.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Military historian Terry Beckenbaugh examines the failed 1863 attack on the Confederacy’s Fort Wagner on Charleston Harbor – an incident that provided further evidence to both the North and South that African-American troops were ready to fight and die for the Union cause.

Beckenbaugh is an assistant professor in the Department 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.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

In the new series Dateline: Washington with David Von Drehle, journalists covering the nation’s capital offer an insider’s look at politics, partisanship, the ebb and flow of power, and the challenges facing our country today.

David Von DrehleTime magazine’s editor-at-large and a Kansas City resident – holds a public conversation with Politico chief political correspondent Mike Allen. Allen is creator of the influential daily news digest Playbook and “the man the White House wakes up to,” in the words of The New York Times Magazine.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Programs and a traveling exhibit from the Metropolitan Community College’s Business and Technology Campus explore how to land in-demand “gold collar” jobs – electric utility lineman, computer-controlled machine programmer, welder/fabricator, environmental engineering technician – with just an associate’s degree or less.

The programs – 10 Gold Collar Jobs in KC and 10 Things that Get You Hired and 10 Things that Get You Fired – will be presented throughout the summer and fall at several Library locations.


Sunday, July 14, 2013

In the 1950s and ‘60s, Kansas City was a heavily segregated town. African-Americans were limited even in which city facilities they could use. For instance, black citizens were permitted to have picnics at just one spot in the city’s parks system: at Shelter No. 5 in Swope Park, widely known as “Watermelon Hill.”

Local historian Joelouis Mattox discusses this era in the city’s racial past.