Event Video

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  • Chris Taylor director of the Atchison County Historical Society and the world’s smallest unofficial presidential library, offers an enlightening and whimsical review of the “presidency” of Missourian David Rice Atchison – who, some contend, spent 24 hours as president of the United States on March 4, 1849.
    David Rice Atchison - Chris Taylor
    Tuesday, March 4, 2014
    Plaza Branch

    Due to a quirk in the calendar in the year 1849, one school of thought contends that Missourian David Rice Atchison deserves to be considered the 12th president of the United States. His “term of office” lasted just 24 hours — most of which he slept through — and took place 165 years ago today.

    On Sunday, March 4, 1849, Atchison was serving as president pro tempore of the senate, then third in line for succession to the presidency. Because James K. Polk’s term ended at noon on that day and Zachary Taylor didn’t take the oath of office until noon the next day, Atchison technically may have been the chief magistrate of the land during that interim period.

    Chris Taylor, executive director of the Atchison County Historical Society and the world’s smallest unofficial presidential library, offers a whimsical and educational review of Atchison’s brief administration.

  • In a discussion of his new book, historian John B. Judis looks back to the Truman administration in an examination of the roots of the Arab/Israeli conflict and explains how it might be ended.
    Genesis: Truman, American Jews, and the Origins of the Arab/Israeli Conflict
    Tuesday, February 25, 2014
    Central Library

    John B. Judis, senior editor at The New Republic, examines the half-century of raging conflict between Jews and Arabs—a violent, costly struggle that has had catastrophic repercussions in a critical region of the world.

    The fatal flaw in American policy, Judis says, can be traced back to the Truman administration. What happened between 1945 and 1949 sealed the fate of the Middle East for the remainder of the century and explains why every subsequent attempt to stabilize the area has failed—right down to George W. Bush’s unsuccessful and ill-conceived effort to win peace by holding elections among Palestinians and Barack Obama’s failed attempt to bring both sides to the negotiating table.

  • We think of the Civil War in terms of great land battles. But the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College’s John T. Kuehn argues that the war on water – on rivers, in harbors, and on the high seas – was just as important.
    Civil War at Sea: The First Modern Naval War
    Thursday, February 20, 2014
    Central Library

    Americans are familiar with Civil War land battles—but much less so with the war at sea, from the development of ironclad warships and submarines to the more mundane naval blockade that created economic starvation in the South.

    On the 150th anniversary of the Confederates’ loss of the CSS Hunley—which had been the first combat Submarine to sink an enemy warship—John T. Kuehn of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College examines the largely underappreciated role that naval warfare played in the Civil War. Kuehn, a former Navy aviator, is the author of two books on the Pacific theater in World War II and another on the military history of Japan.

  • In this one-man show, historic re-enactor Charles Everett Pace portrays the slave who fled to freedom and became one of America’s most eloquent voices for abolition and civil rights.
    An Evening With Frederick Douglass
    Wednesday, February 19, 2014
    Central Library

    Veteran re-enactor Charles Everett Pace brings his one man show to Kansas City to portray prominent abolitionist and social reformer Frederick Douglass.

    Born enslaved in 1818, Douglass successfully escaped from bondage in 1838 and quickly rose to the front ranks of leading abolitionists, becoming the most famous black American of his day. In the years leading up to the Civil War, his incisive anti-slavery writings and mesmerizing speeches reached broad audiences in the United States and the British Isles. Following emancipation, Douglass continued to lecture and write on civil rights issues, including women’s rights and desegregation. He wrote several versions of his autobiography between 1845 and 1892.

  • Experts explain how Kansas City’s gay rights community was making strides long before the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York sparked the modern gay rights movement. Participating are Stuart Hinds, Kevin Scharlau, and Kay Madden.
    We're Here, We're Queer: The Struggle for Gay and Lesbian Rights in Kansas City
    Tuesday, February 18, 2014
    Plaza Branch

    Well before the famous 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City sparked the modern gay rights movement, Kansas City had its own active gay rights community that was a meaningful participant in the larger national movement. Post-Stonewall, the city’s emerging gay and lesbian community strove to provide venues and services to address the growing needs of its members.

    Stuart Hinds, head of the LaBudde Special Collections at the UMKC Libraries; Kevin Scharlau, History PhD. candidate at UMKC; and attorney Kay Madden hold a lively discussion of the history of LGBT advocacy in the Kansas City area.

  • This all-day event explores the future of ultra-high-speed Internet with demonstrations of gigabit products, a panel discussion, and group breakouts that explore how gigabit apps could impact regional issues.
    Building the Gigabit City 2.0
    Thursday, February 13, 2014
    Central Library

    The installation of ultra-high-speed Google Fiber internet service in Kansas City is well underway. But what will it mean to residents day to day on a practical level?

    That question will be addressed in an event exploring the future of hyper-fast internet applications and the innovations spurred by its implementation here.

  • Author David O. Stewart discusses his new novel offering an alternative history of the conspiracy to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln. Was John Wilkes Booth truly the mastermind or were other more powerful forces pulling the strings?
    The Lincoln Deception
    Wednesday, February 12, 2014
    Central Library

    Was John Wilkes Booth truly the mastermind behind the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln and the plot to murder other members of his administration, or were other more powerful forces pulling the strings behind the scenes?

    Blending real and fictional characters, lawyer-turned-author David O. Stewart commemorates Lincoln’s Birthday with a discussion of his new work of historical fiction, The Lincoln Deception. Superbly researched and brilliantly plotted, this thoroughly gripping mystery explores one of the nation’s darkest and most fascinating eras and the conspiracy that changed world history.

  • Library Director Crosby Kemper III interviews civil rights advocate Alvin Sykes about the role libraries have played in his work, his appointment as the 2013 scholar in residence, and the publication of the biographical monograph Pursuit of Truth.
    A Conversation with Alvin Sykes
    Thursday, January 30, 2014
    Central Library

    As a self-taught human rights worker who relies on local libraries for his primary research, the Kansas City Public Library's 2013 scholar in residence Alvin Sykes works with the justice system on behalf of minorities and the poor.

    In a public conversation with Library Director Crosby Kemper III, Sykes talks about testifying before Congress, bending the ears of politicians, and his role in creating the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act, which gives the U.S. Department of Justice the means to investigate long-ago cases of civil rights violations.

  • In a discussion of his new book, historian Sean McMeekin reveals how a small cabal of European statesmen used the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand to initiate a long-awaited showdown among the Continent’s powers, ultimately leading to the start of World War I.  Wednesday, January 29, 2014 Reception: 6 p.m. Program: 6:30 p.m.   Central Library 14 W. 10th St.
    July 1914: Countdown to War
    Wednesday, January 29, 2014
    Central Library

    When a Serbian assassin gunned down Archduke Franz Ferdinand in June 1914, there was nothing to suggest the event would lead to a horrific world war. In a discussion of his new book, historian Sean McMeekin reveals how a small cabal of statesmen used the Archduke's murder to set up a long-awaited showdown among the European powers. July 1914: Countdown to War reveals how in a single month a handful of men changed the course of the 20th century.

  • Historian Hal Wert marks the  75th anniversary of the year when Europe faced a period of escalating tensions, diplomatic crises and armed agressions that culminated in the German blitzkrieg of Poland and the outbreak of World War II.
    1939: Into the Abyss
    Wednesday, January 22, 2014
    Central Library

    2014 marks the 75th anniversary of the year when Europe faced what Winston Churchill memorably called “the gathering storm” — a period of escalating political tensions, diplomatic crises, and armed aggressions that culminated in the German blitzkrieg of Poland and the outbreak of World War II.

    Hal Wert, professor of history at the Kansas City Art Institute, examines the key events of 1939, a year that saw Fascist victory in the Spanish Civil War, the final dismemberment of Czechoslovakia, and the Russian invasion of Finland. In the U.S. the economy looked as if it might emerge from Depression, Hollywood produced some of its greatest films, the New York World’s Fair wowed audiences from around the globe, and the ailing Lou Gehrig retired from baseball.

Kansas City Public Library Beta