Event Video

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  • Veteran White House journalist Carl M. Cannon takes a look at Michelle Obama, the first African American first lady, a Harvard-trained lawyer, and one of her husband’s most valued political mentors.  This presentation is the first in the new series Beyond the Gowns: First Ladies in American History.
    MICHELLE OBAMA
    Wednesday, March 6, 2013
    Plaza Branch

    Veteran journalist Carl M. Cannon discusses the life of first lady Michele Obama on Wednesday, March 6, 2013, at 6:30 p.m. at the Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St.

    Michelle Obama is the 46th first lady of the United States, caretaker of an unpaid position that nevertheless is one of the most powerful in the world. How powerful? Put it this way: Even in this rarified air, Mrs. Obama stands out for her closeness to the president.

  • Pulitzer Prize-winning author  Tim Weiner explains how the FBI became the most formidable intelligence force in American history and how the Bureau has spied on anyone it considers subversive ... including presidents.
    Enemies: A History of the FBI
    Wednesday, February 27, 2013
    Plaza Branch

    Its reputation is that of America’s incorruptible police force. Yet the primary mission of the FBI is secret intelligence, according to Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tim Weiner. In his new book Weiner reveals how presidents have used the agency as the most formidable intelligence force in American history, and how the bureau has spied on anyone it considers subversive … including presidents.

    The FBI’s secret intelligence and surveillance techniques have created a tug-of-war between national security and civil liberties, creating a tension that strains the very fabric of a free society.

  • Author Henry Wiencek examines our first president’s long struggle with the issue of slavery, an experience that moved him to free all his slaves upon his death.
    An Imperfect God: George Washington, His Slaves and the Creation of America - Henry Wiencek
    Wednesday, February 20, 2013
    Plaza Branch

    George Washington was a slave owner, a fact which he described as his “only unavoidable subject of regret.” So much did he regret it that in his will Washington made the startling decision to free his slaves. Author Henry Wiencek, who in 2012 spoke at the Library about Thomas Jefferson’s attitudes toward slavery, now examines the relationship between the most iconic of our Founding Fathers and the “peculiar institution.”

  • Walter Stahr examines the
    Seward: Lincoln’s Indispensable Man
    Tuesday, February 12, 2013
    Central Library

    In 1860 William Henry Seward was poised to become the Republican nominee for president, only to lose to Abraham Lincoln.

    Now, on Lincoln’s birthday, historian Walter Stahr describes how the two put aside their rivalry, with Seward becoming Lincoln’s Secretary of State and closest adviser during the Civil War. He was so important that John Wilkes Booth and his co-conspirators targeted Seward along with the President.

    A former lawyer, Stahr is also the author of John Jay: Founding Father.

  • A screening of the Denzel Washington film The Great Debaters is followed by biographer Robert Farnsworth’s discussion of the life and work of African-American poet Melvin B. Tolson.
    Robert Farnsworth: Beyond the Great Debaters: The Real Melvin B. Tolson
    Wednesday, February 6, 2013
    Plaza Branch

    Celebrate the 115th birthday of Melvin Tolson, a one-time Kansas City resident who graduated from Lincoln High School and eventually became the first Poet Laureate of Liberia.

    Start with a screening of the 2007 Denzel Washington film The Great Debaters, the Hollywood version about how Tolson led black college students to a 1935 national debate championship.

  • Historian Ethan S. Rafuse examines a tumultuous year in the history of the Army of the Potomac, when  Gen. “Fighting” Joe Hooker took over a demoralized and bruised force and restored its effectiveness, only to lose the battle of Chancellorsville and be replaced by George Meade.
    “Fighting” Joe Hooker and the Challenge of Command in 1863 - Ethan S. Rafuse
    Thursday, January 24, 2013
    Central Library

    Historian Ethan S. Rafuse examines a tumultuous year in the history of the Army of the Potomac, when Gen. “Fighting” Joe Hooker took over a demoralized and bruised Union force and restored its effectiveness, only to lose the battle of Chancellorsville and be replaced by George Meade.

    Rafuse is professor 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.

  • Kauffman Foundation senior scholar Brink Lindsey analyzes how the rich are getting richer while the poor are trapped in a vicious cycle. According to his new book, narrowing the growing wealth gap demands a major investment in “human capital.”
    Human Capitalism - Brink Lindsey
    Wednesday, January 23, 2013
    Central Library

    Narrowing the growing gap between the wealthy and the rest of us demands a major investment in “human capital,” according to Kauffman Foundation senior scholar Brink Lindsey.

    In his new book Lindsey analyzes how the rich are getting richer while the poor are trapped in a vicious cycle. He offers an ambitious plan calling for educational reform, encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation, increasing early intervention for at-risk children, low-wage job subsidies, and penal reform.

    Formerly, Lindsey was vice president for research at the Cato Institute.

  • Steve Kraske of KCUR’s Up to Date moderates a panel of experts discussing Kansas City’s financial planning and budgeting process. This will be the first of four forums identifying and exploring key municipal public policy issues facing Kansas City.
    What Is Kansas City’s Long-Range Financial Plan?
    Thursday, January 17, 2013
    Central Library

    Steve Kraske of KCUR’s Up to Date moderates a panel discussion about Kansas City’s financial planning. Featured city officials and experts include City Manager Troy Schulte, Chair of the City Council Finance Committee Jan Marcason, certified public accountant and representative of the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City James Gegg, and University of Kansas Associate Professor of Public Administration Alfred Ho.

  • Author/musician/rickshaw driver Eric Brende offers new lyrics for a Christmas favorite that reflect a greener, cleaner, more frugal approach to celebrating the holidays.
    The Twelve Days of Christmas, Revisited - Eric Brende
    Thursday, December 6, 2012
    Plaza Branch

    Ever get the feeling that Christmas has morphed into something it was never supposed to be?

    How did a celebration of joy, togetherness, love, and hope transmute into an extended shopping spree accounting for 25 percent of annual consumer spending? 

  • Drawing on exclusive access to Joseph Kennedy’s papers, historian David Nasaw offers a portrait of a complicated man – financier, filmmaker, kingmaker, and father of a president.
    The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy - David Nasaw
    Tuesday, December 4, 2012
    Central Library

    Was he an anti-Semite and a Nazi sympathizer? An appeaser and isolationist?

    For all his public activities – financier, film producer, kingmaker, father of a president - Joseph P. Kennedy remains an elusive figure. Historian David Nasaw draws on exclusive access to Kennedy’s papers to explore the complicated personality.

    Nasaw is Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. Distinguished Professor of American History at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.