John Ford’s The Grapes of Wrath spends two hours rubbing our noses in poverty and economic exploitation, yet somehow sends us off with hope-filled hearts. Cinematographer Gregg Toland (his next job would be Citizen Kane for Orson Welles) shot the film like a WPA documentary. His black-and-white images are utterly realistic yet achingly beautiful. And the performances from Jane Darwell (who won an Oscar) and Henry Fonda – who in Tom Joad found the greatest character of his storied career – are quietly spectacular.
Movies That Matter – The Sequel continues with screenings of great films with opening and closing remarks by former Kansas City Star film critic Robert W. Butler (now a member of the Library’s Public Affairs staff).
After spending the past two weeks as local and national celebrities — saluted on the editorial page of The Kansas City Star and celebrated on the set of television’s Good Morning America — Sophia Hoffman and Kush Sharma get back to what they do best. Spell.
Decades before Oprah, Dr. Phil, and today’s innumerable gurus peddling surefire plans for bettering ourselves, Missourian Dale Carnegie started the self-help revolution with his worldwide best seller How to Win Friends and Influence People. Life magazine named Carnegie one of its “100 most important Americans of the 20th Century.”
Angela Elam of New Letters on the Air, aired locally on KCUR 89.3 FM, holds a public conversation with author and Independence resident Maija Rhee Devine about her new novel The Voices of Heaven. It follows the arranged marriage of a Korean couple from the final years of the Japanese occupation through the Korean War and into the economically advanced, high-tech South Korea of today.
Winner of an Emily Dickinson Poetry Award, Devine is working on a book of poems about Korean women forced to provide sexual services to Japanese troops. She is a survivor of the Korean War.
Due to a quirk in the calendar in the year 1849, one school of thought contends that Missourian David Rice Atchison deserves to be considered the 12th president of the United States. His “term of office” lasted just 24 hours — most of which he slept through — and took place 165 years ago today.
On Sunday, March 4, 1849, Atchison was serving as president pro tempore of the senate, then third in line for succession to the presidency. Because James K. Polk’s term ended at noon on that day and Zachary Taylor didn’t take the oath of office until noon the next day, Atchison technically may have been the chief magistrate of the land during that interim period.
Chris Taylor, executive director of the Atchison County Historical Society and the world’s smallest unofficial presidential library, offers a whimsical and educational review of Atchison’s brief administration.
Bayard Rustin helped shape Martin Luther King Jr., and organized the historic 1963 March on Washington. Now his life partner Walter Naegle discusses Rustin’s vision, explains why his ideas are still relevant , and introduces a screening of the documentary Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin.
To kick off this year’s McKinzie symposium—One Nation Under God: The Politics of America’s Religious Diversity—the University of Wisconsin’s Charles L. Cohen delivers a keynote address on the issues facing minority religions in America.
Cohen is a professor of history and religious studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and director of the Lubar Institute for the Study of the Abrahamic Religions.
Kansas City’s River Market area was known in the 1970s as River Quay, a redeveloped home to restaurants and bohemian shops—and site of a violent Mafia turf war.
The dispute left three establishments burned or blown up and several mobsters killed, devastating the district. Gary Jenkins, a local attorney and documentary filmmaker, was a Kansas City police detective at the time and part of a subsequent investigation that uncovered a multi-city mob conspiracy to skim money from Las Vegas casinos.