Radio Interviews

All Library locations will be closed on Sunday, April 20, in observance of the Easter holiday.

KCUR, Kansas City's local NPR station, hosts on its programs many of the authors and speakers that visit the Library. This page lists these interviews and provides links for you to listen to the programs.

  • Attica Locke discusses her novel Black Water Rising, about a Houston lawyer who saves a drowning woman and opens a Pandora’s Box of secrets that threaten the city’s power brokers.
    Attica Locke: Black Water Rising
    Wednesday, March 21, 2012
    Plaza Branch

    Attica Locke discusses her novel Black Water Rising, set in Houston in the early 1980s. Former campus radical Jay Porter is now a lawyer running his practice out of a dingy strip mall. When he saves a woman from drowning, his act of heroism inadvertently opens a Pandora’s box of dangerous secrets that threaten the city’s corporate power brokers and place Jay at the center of a murder investigation.

  • Landon Rowland examines the railroad-building efforts of Arthur Stilwell, which allowed Kansas City to enter the 20th century as one of the nation's most important transportation hubs.
    Landon Rowland: The Role of Railroads in Kansas City’s Development
    Sunday, March 18, 2012
    Central Library

    Landon Rowland discusses the achievements of 19th century railroad developer Arthur Stilwell, who forever changed the Kansas City area’s business landscape with an ambitious program of railroad construction that made the region an important transportation hub. This is the centennial year of Stilwell’s retirement – a year in which the Google Fiber network, a different kind of economic game-changer, arrives in Kansas City.

    Rowland is the former president and chief executive officer of Kansas City Southern Industries and chairman emeritus of the Janus Capital Group.

  • Preeminent historian Robert Dallek examines why some presidents succeed and others don’t by zeroing in on the vision, pragmatism, and charisma of leaders from Theodore Roosevelt to Ronald Reagan.
    Robert Dallek: The Making and Unmaking of 20th Century Presidents
    Tuesday, March 13, 2012
    Plaza Branch

    Offering the keynote address for this year’s series on the American presidency, presidential scholar Robert Dallek examines why some presidents succeed and others don’t by zeroing in on such determinants as vision, pragmatism, charisma, trust, consensus, and luck.

  • University of Kansas historian Shawn Leigh Alexander looks at the forgotten men and women who in the late 19th century took up the cause of civil rights for African Americans.
    Shawn Leigh Alexander - An Army of Lions: The Civil Rights Struggle Before the NAACP
    Tuesday, March 6, 2012
    Central Library

    Historian Shawn Leigh Alexander looks at the forgotten men and women who in the late 19th century took up the cause of civil rights for African Americans. Creating groups such as the Afro-American League, the Afro-American Council, the Niagara Movement, the Constitution League, and the Committee of Twelve, these pioneers developed the methodology of boycotts, propaganda, lobbying, and moral suasion that would bear fruit only long after they had passed on.

    Alexander is an assistant professor of African and African American Studies at the University of Kansas.

  • Emiel Cleaver premieres his new documentary about the creation and decades-long activism of Freedom, Inc., Kansas City’s pioneering African American political organization.
    Emiel Cleaver: Freedom Is Now
    Friday, February 24, 2012
    Plaza Branch

    Area filmmaker Emiel Cleaver debuts his documentary film Freedom Is Now about Freedom, Inc., Kansas City’s pioneering African-American political organization.

    Not only did Freedom, Inc. give many blacks their first taste of politics, for decades it tirelessly fought for self determination for African Americans frustrated with racism and political irrelevancy.

    Co-sponsored by Black Archives of Mid-America.

  • In his new memoir playwright/novelist/poet Zakes Mda recalls his coming of age under South African apartheid and his love of jazz, comic books, political discourse and writing.
    Zakes Mda: Sometimes There Is A Void
    Thursday, February 16, 2012
    Central Library

    In his memoir Sometimes There Is A Void award-winning South African author Zakes Mda chronicles his youth from boyhood in Soweto to his exile and coming of age in Basutoland (now Lesotho).

  • Just in time for Valentine’s Day: UMKC’s Jennifer Phegley provides insights into Victorian “dating” and wedding practices that continue to be embraced by modern brides and grooms…and asks if the Victorians’ ideas about romantic have left us with unhealthy expectations.
    Jennifer Phegley - Courtship and Marriage in Victorian England
    Thursday, February 9, 2012
    Central Library

    Jennifer Phegley, chair of the Department of English at the University of Missouri – Kansas City, examines how many of our modern marriage traditions – including wedding dresses and honeymoons – have their roots in the Victorian era.

  • Lee Ward, owner of the Museum of Funeral History in Independence, discusses 150 years of African American funeral homes and the black community’s historic emphasis on end-of-life rituals.
    Lee Ward - The Final Sendoff: African-American Funeral Homes
    Tuesday, February 7, 2012
    Central Library

    Lee Ward, owner of the Museum of Funeral History in Independence, discusses 150 years of African-American funeral homes, which in the decades of segregation provided the black community with end-of-life services denied by white businesses. Among the names of these enterprises were those of T.B. Watkins, Adkins, Kerford, and H.B. Moore.

  • Robert Litan discusses the life and art of his father, David Israel Litan, whose lithographs portraying scenes of Kansas and aspects of Jewish life and faith sold widely throughout the Sunflower State during his lifetime, most of which was spent in Wichita.
    Robert Litan - From Wichita to the Wailing Wall: The Art of David Israel Litan
    Tuesday, January 31, 2012
    Central Library

    David Israel Litan made his living in the oil business, but art was his passion and his gift. His lithographs portraying scenes of Kansas and aspects of Jewish life and faith sold widely throughout the Sunflower State during his lifetime, most of which was spent in Wichita.

    The artist’s son, Robert Litan, noted economist and senior executive at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, discusses his father’s art and faith.

  • The retired Special Agent tells the real stories behind the headlines of some of the highest profile FBI cases investigated in Kansas City.
    Jeff Lanza - Federal Cases: Inside the Kansas City FBI
    Thursday, January 12, 2012
    Plaza Branch

    A newborn baby is kidnapped from a Kansas City hospital. A New Year’s Eve bank robber takes hostages in a stand-off. A pharmacist dilutes the medication of 4,000 patients. Over the past 20 years, some of the highest profile FBI cases were investigated in Kansas City.

    Retired Special Agent Jeff Lanza, who served as the FBI’s Kansas City spokesman, tells the real stories behind the headlines and reveals how he learned to interact with local and national media. Lanza is author of the recently released Pistols to Press.