Event Video

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  • 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.

  • Randy Roberts discusses how a 1944 college football contest played by West Point cadets and Annapolis midshipmen captivated an American public seeking heroism and hope.
    Randy Roberts - A Team for America: The Army-Navy Game that Rallied a Nation
    Thursday, February 2, 2012
    Central Library

    Purdue University historian Randy Roberts discusses the iconic 1944 football game between the undefeated cadets of West Point and the midshipmen of Annapolis.

  • University of Pennsylvania historian Stephanie McCurry contends the South sowed the seeds of its demise in creating a regime that excluded white women and slaves, which together comprised a majority of the population.
    Stephanie McCurry: Confederate Reckoning
    Thursday, January 26, 2012
    Plaza Branch

    University of Pennsylvania historian Stephanie McCurry offers a new interpretation of the Confederacy that contends the South sowed the seeds of its demise in creating a regime that excluded white women and slaves, which together comprised a majority of the population.

    Confederate Reckoning was a finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for History. McCurry’s talk is the keynote address for the Richard D. McKinzie Research Symposium.

    Co-sponsored by the University of Missouri-Kansas City Department of History.

  • Military historian Richard B. Frank examines the new international scholarship on the first five years of China’s “War of Resistance” against Japan, from 1937-42.
    Richard B. Frank: China’s “War of Resistance” 1937-42
    Tuesday, January 24, 2012
    Central Library

    Richard B. Frank examines the new international scholarship on the first five years of China’s “War of Resistance” against Japan from 1937-42.

  • Author and filmmaker Terence O’Malley presents a veritable “Hood’s Who” of Kansas City’s Black Hand/Mafia/Cosa Nostra, an inglorious yet persistently fascinating element of Kansas City’s organized crime history.
    Terence O’Malley - Black Hand Strawman: The History of Organized Crime in Kansas City
    Sunday, January 15, 2012
    Central Library

    Filmmaker Terence O’Malley discusses his new book Black Hand Strawman: The History of Organized Crime in Kansas City, a companion to his documentary of the same name.

    O’Malley chronicles the Black Hand era in Kansas City that saw the beginnings of Italian organized crime, its later alliance with the Pendergast political machine, and its rise to dominance in the early 20th century. O’Malley also discusses the lives of the overwhelming majority within the city’s Italian American community who suffered as victims of organized crime.

  • 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.

  • Former VP of CIGNA Wendell Potter explains how insurance companies make promises they have no intention of keeping, flout regulations designed to protect consumers, and skew political debate with multibillion-dollar  PR campaigns.
    Wendell Potter: Deadly Spin
    Wednesday, January 11, 2012
    Central Library

    Wendell Potter, a former VP of CIGNA, argues that health insurers make promises they have no intention of keeping, flout regulations designed to protect consumers, and skew political debate with multibillion-dollar PR campaigns to mislead the press and public.

  • Library Director Crosby Kemper III interviews former Missouri Governor Bob Holden, exploring his political career and his views on civic leadership. Holden’s official portrait will be on display during the program, and artist Carla Malone Steck will offer remarks.
    Unveiling a Governor: A Conversation with Former Missouri Governor Bob Holden
    Thursday, January 5, 2012
    Central Library

    Library Director Crosby Kemper III conducts a public conversation with former Missouri Governor Bob Holden, exploring his career as a Missouri statesman and discussing his perspective on civic leadership and the public good.

    Holden’s official portrait, which was officially unveiled at the Missouri State Capitol on December 9, 2011, will be on display during the program. Portrait artist Carla Malone Steck will also make remarks on her approach to painting the portraits of both the Governor and the former First Lady, Lori Hauser Holden.

  • United States Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer discusses the role  of the courts in our democracy and advocates a pragmatic approach to the law that applies unchanging constitutional values to  ever-changing circumstances.
    Stephen Breyer - Making Our Democracy Work: A Judge’s View
    Thursday, December 8, 2011
    Plaza Branch

    United States Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer discusses the role of the Court in American government and explains why he believes the justices should interpret the Constitution in a way that works in practice as well as in theory.

    Breyer rejects approaches that look exclusively at the Constitution’s text or the 18th century views of the framers and instead advocates a pragmatic approach that applies unchanging constitutional values to ever-changing circumstances.

    Co-sponsored by the Truman Library Institute.