[Virtual] Show Me Kansas City: A Missouri Bicentennial Lecture Series

3/18/2021 to 10/21/2021

On Aug. 10, 2021, the state of Missouri turns 200 years old. The bicentennial gives us the opportunity to reflect on what Missouri has become, how we got here, and the different ways our communities have contributed to the development of this great state. In commemoration of our statehood anniversary, we would like you to join us and the Mid-Continent Library for a yearlong virtual lecture series every third Thursday of the month at 7 p.m. The series will explore the Kansas City region’s unique natural, cultural and historical landscapes that greatly contribute to Missouri’s diversity and advancement. All lectures are free, open to the public, and welcome to all ages. We hope to see you there!

Registration is required and will close 30 minutes prior to the start of the program. Participants will be emailed a Zoom access code 15 minutes before the start of the program. So please include your email in the registration. Please note: You must sign into the room prior to the start of the program. Admittance to the classroom will close five minutes after the program's start time. Space is limited. 

Details about each lecture, including topics and presenters, are provided below. Registration links will be added as they become available. For more information, call 314-808-5550.

This series is one of many events Missouri State Parks is hosting to commemorate the state's bicentennial. To see a complete list of bicentennial-related events and learn more the commemoration, click here.

Lecture Topics and Information:

March 18: "Getting Started With African American Genealogy"
Wayne Reed, vice president of the Midwest Afro-American Genealogical Interest Coalition (MAGIC)

African American genealogical research presents some challenges. It takes a little MAGIC to break through some of those brick walls and challenges. This presentation will cover how to get started in African American genealogy, typical challenges, research techniques, missteps to avoid, and a few tips to identify slave owners in unlocking slave ancestry.

Register here: https://www.mymcpl.org/events/69263/getting-started-african-american-genealogy-zoom

Click here to read the news release.

April 15: “Art, Race and Thomas Hart Benton”
Steve Sitton, site administrator, Thomas Hart Benton Home and Studio State Historic Site

Thomas Hart Benton was one of the first major white artists to regularly depict African American life. He painted sharecroppers, musicians, churchgoers and racial violence. Come learn about and discuss the positive and negative aspects of this part of the Missouri regionalist painter’s career.

Register here: https://www.mymcpl.org/events/69308/art-race-and-thomas-hart-benton-zoom

Click here to read the news release.

May 20: “Iron Riders”
Vikki Cosner and Kevin Smith, Missouri State Parks

In 1897, the Buffalo Soldier Bicycle Corps of the 25th Infantry embarked on an epic bicycle ride of over 1,900 miles from Fort Missoula, Montana, to St. Louis, Missouri. The trek was part of an expedition by the U.S. Army to determine the effectiveness of moving troops by bicycle rather than by horse. Called “The Great Experiment” in national newspapers, the 41-day journey included conditions that would have daunted even the most avid of modern-day cyclists: difficult terrain, extreme weather, food and water shortages, and racism and hostility from local residents.

The year 2022 marks the 125th anniversary of this epic journey. Join Missouri State Parks staff to commemorate the event as they tell the little-known story of these ordinary soldiers and their extraordinary accomplishments and share with you the programs that are being planned for 2022.

Register here: https://www.mymcpl.org/events/69541/iron-riders-zoom

Click here to read the news release.

June 17: “Black Baseball & Black History”
Dr. Raymond Doswell, Negro Leagues Baseball Museum

Before 1947, African Americans played professional baseball in their own separate teams, collectively known as “The Negro Leagues.” Against the backdrop of segregation, these teams traveled the country to communities large and small, bringing the thrills of America’s favorite pastime to thousands of fans and paving the way for civil rights. Join Dr. Raymond Doswell, vice president and curator of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kanas City, Missouri, to learn about the great stars and communities of the Negro Leagues, especially those in St. Louis and Kansas City.

Register here: https://www.mymcpl.org/events/69542/black-baseball-black-history-zoom

Click here to read the news release.

July 15: “Missouri’s Marvelous Mammals”
Melissa Simmons, Kansas City Outreach Office, Missouri State Parks

We see furry little friends everywhere we go. Learn about some of the mammals that call Missouri their home and how to tell them apart by their fur and the tracks they leave behind.

Click here to read the news release.

Register here: https://www.mymcpl.org/events/69578/missouris-marvelous-mammals-zoom

Aug. 19: "Missouri’s and Mexico's Bicentennials: South/North International Trade Begins"
Dr. Gene T. Chávez, Ed.D.

In 1821, Missouri became a state, and 2021 marks the 200th anniversary of its statehood and its role in developing commerce with Mexico. In that same year, Mexico became a nation, having gained its independence from Spain. Mexico then opened trade with the United States. Hispano and American entrepreneurs were ready and able to make the Santa Fe Trail a two-way international trade route and a conduit for cultural exchange between the two nations.

Register here: https://www.mymcpl.org/events/70106/1821-missouri-and-mexicos-bicentennials-southnorth-international-trade-begins-zoom

Sept. 16: “Camping While Black: Missouri’s Camp Dericotte, 1939-1960”
Cecelia Brueggemann, Missouri State Parks

Learn about the development of youth summer camps in the United States while taking a closer look at Missouri’s pioneering Camp Derricotte, the state's first camp specifically for Black girls.

Register here: https://www.mymcpl.org/events/70089/camping-while-black-missouris-camp-dericotte-1939-1960-zoom

Oct. 21: "African American Artists Collective"
Sonié Joi Thompson-Ruffin

In 2014, a group of artists met at Gates BBQ on Linwood and Main, in Kansas City, Missouri, with "Rev.," better known as the Honorable Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II, and his assistant, Jim Vaughan. Those artists — Glenn North, Diallo French, Gerald Dunn, Jason Piggie, Nedra Bonds and Sonié Joi Thompson-Ruffin — talked about the arts as they pertained to the African American arts movement in the city and what they, as artists, were doing with their practices in the community. Ultimately, that meeting gave birth to what is now the African American Artists Collective.

Members of the Collective identify and catalyze their practice as a means to support the African American and Black Arts movement in Kansas City, throughout the country, and around the globe. The Collective advocates for other artists, advances professional development, builds networks, and provides mentorship. Ongoing initiatives include generating exhibitions and performances, developing an endowment, and securing digital resources. The Collective’s efforts also span social justice movements in the arts and their proximity to Kansas City.

Registration link to be added later.

Lecture Times: 7 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Location: Virtual

Associated activities

  • Interpretive Programs