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Kansas History - Autumn 1999

(Vol. 22, No. 3)

Kansas History, Autumn 1999

Randall M. Thies, "Civil War Valor in Concrete: David A Lester and the Kinsley Civil War Monument."

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Near the end of what Thies, an archeologist and cultural resource specialist with the Kansas Historical Society, calls the "Great Monument Era" (1885-1918), residents of Kinsley unveiled their long awaited memorial to Civil War veterans. Many communities across America had done the same, but the Kinsley experience was unique: the Kinsley monument was created by a local artist, David A Lester, himself a veteran and commander of the GAR post there. But perhaps most important, writes Thies, "Lester's monument clearly deserves recognition and documentation as 'grassroots' art and as a uniquely vernacular expression of a nationwide movement. . . . At a time when most such monuments were mass produced in bronze or stone and purchased by mail order from foundries and quarries in the eastern United States, the Kinsley monument was created in the local community by a local artist using common and utilitarian material: cement. It is a homespun creation in 'high art' style."

John C. Tibbetts, "Riding with the Devil: The Movie Adventures of William Clarke Quantrill."

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In this intriguing analysis of the "movie adventures" of Kansas's most infamous Civil War personality, Dr. Tibbetts, an assistant professor of film at the University of Kansas, finds that Quantrill's Lawrence raid "continues of fascinate, even perplex historians, novelists, playwrights, and filmmakers alike." Tibbetts examines the most recent manifestation of Quantrill phenomenon, director Ang Lee's recently released "Ride With the Devil," and discusses the guerrilla leader's changing film persona as it has evolved from its cinematic inception in "Quantrill's Son," a two-reel western released in 1914. Thereafter, Quantrill or a Quantrill-like character was featured in a host of films including several about Jessie James (1920s), "Dark Command" (1940), "Kansas Raiders" (1950), "Red Mountain" (1951), "Quantrill and His Raiders" (1954), "Quantrill's Raiders" (1958), "The Jayhawkers" (1959), and "The Outlaw Josey Wales" (1976).

Anne P. W. Hawkins, "Hoeing Their Own Row: Black Agriculture and the Agrarian Ideal in Kansas, 1880-1920."

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Although historians have taken considerable interest in the African American migration to Kansas during the late nineteenth century, relatively little scholarly attention has been given to their post-Exodus economic and social history. Then as now much attention was focused on the African Americans' urban experience, but contemporaries also recognized the significant of the rural, especially in Kansas where blacks owned nearly 4,000 farms at the dawn of the twentieth century. "As black Kansas communities between 1880 and 1920 established more stable agricultural bases," writes Hawkins, "prosperous black Kansas farmers received regional and national attention, rural settlers lamented the future of their youth in more urban Kansas localities, and black newspapers began to promote farming as the superior economic and moral occupation for black Kansans. At the turn of the century agricultural success and the concurrent national promotion of industrial trades for African Americans by Booker T. Washington and his supporters converged in Kansas into a campaign heralding farming as the basis for black advancement."

William Dobak, "Fort Riley's Black Soldiers and the Army's Changing Role in the West, 1867-1885."

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During the twenty years that followed the Civil War, the U.S. Army's role in the West changed from that of protecting westward-moving whites against Indian raids to protecting American Indians against white encroachment on their lands. Fort Riley's garrison included two all-black regiments, the Tenth Cavalry in 1867-68 and the Ninth Cavalry in 1881-85. The Tenth's activities in the wars of the late 1860s, which included guarding survey and construction crews of the Kansas Pacific Railroad, and those of the Ninth in evicting land-hungry whites from reservations during the 1880s, exemplify this change.

Leonard David Ortiz, "La Voz de la Gente: Chicano Activist Publications in the Kansas City Area, 1968-1989."

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While much research has focused on communities with large Mexican American populations in the West and Southwest, historians seldom discuss Chicano activism in Kansas City. Yet, as the author of this article demonstrates, Chicano communities in this region were quite active and deserve our attention. They sought change in myriad ways using various resources. One was the Mexican American or Chicano daily and weekly newsletter and newspaper, that focused on sociopolitical, economic, and educational issues affecting the community at the local and national level. The theoretical and methodological approaches used by Chicano activists to empower their communities were often influenced and inspired by corridos and poetry that was published in the local newspapers. The publications range from simple newsletters put together by neighborhood organizations to more sophisticated periodicals. The essay examines how the local Chicano community addressed the issues that affected their neighborhoods as well as their propinquity with the Chicano movement at the national level.


Through its regular features, Kansas History strives to keep its readers abreast of the most recent scholarship and thus serves as a vital forum for scholarly discourse. We appreciate those readers who, from time to time, express their opinions on various issues raised within the pages of the journal.