Event Video

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  • Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David M. Kennedy examines the Great Depression and other transformational milestones in America in the 1920s and ’30s, providing a national context for the two-day Wide Open Town Symposium spotlighting Kansas City’s golden age.
    The Great Depression: Causes, Impact, Consequence - David M. Kennedy
    Friday, April 1, 2016
    Plaza Branch

    The 1920s and '30s marked Kansas City's transformation from a rough "cowtown" into a vibrant, modern city – despite such hindrances as political corruption, the Great Depression, and strained relations among the races and sexes. The period is spotlighted during the Wide Open Town Symposium at the Library on April 1-2.

    Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David M. Kennedy, a professor emeritus at Stanford University, provides a national context for the scholar-led symposium, examining the Depression and other transformative milestones in America during that era.

    Liquor during the reception will be provided by Tom's Town Distilling Co.

  • Launching a new, election-centric season of Dateline: Washington, Time magazine Editor-at-Large David Von Drehle holds a public conversation with RealClearPolitics’ Carl Cannon about politics, partisanship, and the playbook for the 2016 campaign.
    Election Insiders - RealClearPolitics’ Carl Cannon
    Tuesday, March 29, 2016
    Plaza Branch

    This event was originally scheduled for January but was rescheduled due to inclement weather in the Washington D.C. area.

    In the wake of the Super Tuesday primaries, the Library and the Truman Library Institute launch a new season of Dateline: Washington focusing on the 2016 elections – the candidates, their campaigns, and the hot-button issues. Time magazine Editor-at-Large David Von Drehle holds a public conversation with RealClearPolitics’ Carl Cannon, taking an insider’s look at politics, partisanship, and the election playbook.

    Carl Cannon is the Washington bureau chief at RealClearPolitics and co-author of Reagan’s Disciple: George W. Bush’s Troubled Quest for a Presidential Legacy. He has won numerous awards, including a share of the Pulitzer Prize in 1989 and the Gerald R. Ford Prize for Distinguished Reporting of the Presidency.

  • In a discussion of his new book, Thomas Frank takes Democrats to task. They’ve occupied the White House for 15 of the past 23 years. Why haven’t they done more to advance the justice-for-all liberal agenda?
    Listen, Liberal - Thomas Frank
    Thursday, March 24, 2016
    Plaza Branch

    Democrats have occupied the White House for 15 of the past 23 years, and Thomas Frank pointedly asks: What do they have to show for it? Wall Street gets bailouts. Free-trade deals keep coming. The decline of the middle class has only accelerated. Why has so little been done to advance traditional liberal goals – to expand opportunity, fight for social justice, and ensure that workers get a fair deal?

  • Prairie Village, Kansas, native SuEllen Fried – one of George H.W. Bush’s Points of Light –  sits down with Library Director Crosby Kemper III to discuss her prison outreach program and the role of entrepreneurship in the nonprofit sector.
    A Public Conversation with SuEllen Fried
    Thursday, March 3, 2016
    Plaza Branch

    At 83, SuEllen Fried’s social conscience has scarcely ebbed. The Prairie Village native – one of former President George H.W. Bush's Points of Light – continues to visit prisoners across Kansas as part of the Reaching Out from Within self-help program she co-founded. She also founded the Kansas Committee for the Prevention of Child Abuse as the model chapter for what is now Prevent Child Abuse America.

  • Thurgood Marshall Jr., son of the Supreme Court justice who argued as a young lawyer for desegregation of the Swope Park pool, joins a discussion of the 1951 case that put Kansas City at the forefront of the civil rights movement.
    Desegregating the Swope Park Swimming Pool - Thurgood Marshall Jr., Alvin Brooks, Steve Kraske
    Thursday, February 25, 2016
    Plaza Branch

    Nearly three years before the Supreme Court’s ruling against school segregation in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka – the commonly acknowledged start of America’s civil rights movement – the burgeoning struggle for equality was stirred by a 1951 case in Kansas City. The local branch of the NAACP filed suit, successfully, to force the city to end racial segregation at the Swope Park swimming pool.

    The plaintiffs’ lead attorney was a future Supreme Court justice, Thurgood Marshall. His son, Thurgood Marshall Jr., joins longtime Kansas City activist and former mayor pro tem Alvin Brooks in a discussion of the case, examining the arguments on both sides, the social context of the times, and the elder Marshall’s role in the outcome. KCUR-FM’s Steve Kraske moderates the conversation.

  • In a discussion of his new book, world chess champion-turned-human rights activist Garry Kasparov discusses what he says is Russian President Vladimir Putin’s evolution from local to regional to global threat. His advice: Stand up to the bully..
    Winter is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped - Garry Kasparov
    Wednesday, November 11, 2015
    Plaza Branch

    World chess champion-turned-human rights activist Garry Kasparov sounded his first warning about Vladimir Putin in 2001.

    He now compares the Russian president with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un and the Islamic State as an enemy of political liberty and the modern world order. In a discussion of his book, Kasparov examines what he says is Putin’s evolution from local to regional to global threat and advocates that the U.S. and its allies stand up to the bully rather than try to appease him.

  • There was more to General George Custer than Little Bighorn. In a discussion of his new book, Pulitzer winner T.J. Stiles reveals a complex man who helped lead the U.S. into a more modern age and then struggled to cope with that change.
    Custer’s Trials: A Life on the Frontier of a New America - T.J. Stiles
    Monday, November 9, 2015
    Plaza Branch

    Many, if not most, Americans’ understanding of Gen. George Armstrong Custer begins and ends with his demise at Little Bighorn. But that belies the complexity of a historic figure who was capable yet insecure, intelligent yet bigoted, and an individualist at odds with the institution of the military (he was court-martialed twice in six years).

  • In a discussion of his book Chief Executive to Chief Justice: Taft Betwixt the White House and Supreme Court, historian Lewis L. Gould examines William Howard Taft’s rise from ignominious defeat in his 1912 bid for re-election as president.
    William Howard Taft - Lewis L. Gould
    Thursday, October 15, 2015
    Plaza Branch

    As our 27th president from 1909-1913 and then as chief justice of the Supreme Court from 1921-1930, William Howard Taft was the only man ever to head two of America’s three governing branches. But between these two well-documented periods in office lies an eight-year patch of largely unexplored political wilderness — a time when Taft somehow rose from ignominious defeat in the 1912 presidential election to leadership of the nation’s highest court.

    Monmouth College historian Lewis L. Gould delivers the first in-depth look at this interval in Taft’s singular career in a discussion of his book Chief Executive to Chief Justice: Taft Betwixt the White House and Supreme Court.

  • Historian Tim Rives discusses Dwight Eisenhower’s view of the extinction of the American frontier – declared in 1890, the year of Ike’s birth – as the beginning of a new, progressive era of American history.
    The Significance of the Frontier in Eisenhower History - Tim Rives
    Tuesday, October 13, 2015
    Central Library

    2015 commemorates not only the 125th anniversary of the birth of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, but also the U.S. Census Bureau’s declaration that the American frontier had closed. As historian Tim Rives explains, these two events are not unrelated.

    Like other progressives of his generation, Eisenhower saw the extinction of the frontier as the end of the first phase of American history, and the beginning of a new age in which the federal government would replace the lost reservoir of free land and abundant resources with economic cooperation and individual security through social programs. More than any other single factor, Eisenhower’s interpretation of the vanished frontier is what distinguishes his “Middle Way” political philosophy from the conservative wing of the Republican Party he led through two terms as a president.

    Tim Rives is the deputy director and supervisory archivist of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum and Boyhood Home in Abilene, Kansas.

  • Former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert B. Reich worries that the economic recovery is bypassing most Americans. Reich examines how the economic system that helped make our country strong is now failing us. And he lays out what’s needed to fix it.
    Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few - Robert B. Reich
    Monday, October 5, 2015
    Plaza Branch

    Former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert B. Reich worries that America’s economic recovery is bypassing most Americans. Adjusted for inflation, median hourly and weekly pay has dropped over the past year. Since the depths of the Great Recession in 2009, median household income has fallen nearly 4.5 percent. Well-funded special interests have been allowed to tilt the market to their benefit, shrinking the middle class and creating the greatest income inequality and wealth disparity in 80 years.

    In a discussion of his new book, Reich examines how the economic system that helped make our country strong is now failing us. And he lays out what’s needed to fix it. Many of today’s workers aren’t paid what they’re worth. A higher minimum wage doesn’t equal fewer jobs. And corporations needn’t serve shareholders before employees.

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