Meet the Past Series Continues with Jesse James
June 15, 2009
Kansas City Public Library Director Crosby Kemper III interviews Jesse James, portrayed by Aaron Worley, as part of the Library’s Meet the Past series on Tuesday, June 30, at 6:30 p.m. at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.
Following the end of the Civil War, Jesse James and his brother Frank, along with the Younger brothers and other followers, perfected the first daylight bank robberies in the United States. The editor of The Kansas City Times and a Southern sympathizer, John Newman Edwards, promoted the actions of the James Gang as those of American Robin Hoods and popularized the brothers with dime store novels. Jesse James is credited with robbing at least a dozen banks, half a dozen trains and stage coaches, and even the fairgrounds in Kansas City, until the gang’s luck ran out in Northfield, Minnesota. Local residents killed three of the robbers and captured all three Younger brothers. Only Frank and Jesse escaped.
Three years later, Jesse James emerged from the shadows with a new gang that included his cousins Charlie and Robert Ford. The new crew was marred by infighting and backstabbing. The Ford brothers secretly struck a deal with Missouri Governor Thomas Crittenden to kill Jesse James for $10,000. On April 3, 1882, Robert Ford shot the rarely unarmed Jesse James in the back of the head at his home in St. Joseph.
Aaron Worley is an actor-director in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A Kansas City native, he took his first acting class at the Kansas City Public Library.
A 6 p.m. reception precedes the event. Admission is free. Call 816.701.3407 to indicate your interest in attending or you may RSVP Online.
The series will air in a regular prime-time timeslot on KCPT (channel 19) during the 2009-10 season.
Meet the Past features Kemper interviewing prominent historical figures (as portrayed by veteran Chautauqua performers and other actors) with Kansas City-area connections. Major funding for Meet the Past has been provided by a grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.