Past and Present

Three Wichita State history professors, Drs. Robin Henry, Robert Weems, and Jay Price, will talk about Wichita history, parallels between current events and historical happenings, and how historical events got us to where we are today.

Past & Present is also available through iTunes. Listen or subscribe here.

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In August, the United States observed the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved people kidnapped from West Africa and transported to the North America colonies. To observe this date, the New York Times, in partnership with the Pulitzer Center, published a 100-page edition of its Sunday magazine entitled “The 1619 Project.” 

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Last week, the faculty at the History Department had a social gathering at Park Villa. The rough stone structure with its red tile roof and wide, surrounding porch has welcomed Wichita groups for more than a century, many of whom probably don’t realize they owe their visit to the efforts of a colorful woman named Laura Buckwalter.


From 1897 to 1986, Wichita State University, previously known as Fairmount College, fielded a football team. During its eighty-nine year history, Shocker football made news both on and off the field. For instance, a 1905 game against Washburn College featured the first forward passes thrown in a game. On October 2, 1970, Wichita and the nation mourned the death of half of the Shocker football team in a plane crash.

This commentary originally aired on November 29, 2016.

The familiar verse “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” from Emma Lazarus’s 1883 poem “The New Colossus,” affirms many Americans’ belief that the United States is a nation of immigrants.

Win McNamee / Getty Images / npr.org

On August 6, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act. Considered one of the most effective pieces of federal legislation, this act secured nationwide minority voting rights. While previous legislation had attempted to do this, the sweeping infrastructure of federal oversight that developed through a series of “special provisions” differentiates this act.

Looking at a photograph of the west side of the Arkansas River from a century ago shows a prominent two-story railroad station just south of Douglas. This was the site of one of Wichita’s lesser known railroad connections: The Midland Valley Railroad. 

mossadegh.com

Growing tensions between the United States and Iran have dominated news in recent weeks. The historical backdrop further validates the notion that certain actions can produce unintended consequences.

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This month, we recognize the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. For many Americans, Stonewall is the beginning of the gay liberation and civil rights movements. But like many movements, the visible moments often rest on a foundation of small, but significant, social, political, and legal challenges.

Jay Price

This month marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, where LBGT patrons of the Stonewall Inn in New York City resisted one of many police raids on the bar. It remains a turning point in the gay rights movement.

Individual income tax returns, including those of public figures, are private information protected by law from unauthorized disclosure. But since the early 1970s, most presidential and vice presidential candidates, as well as sitting presidents and vice presidents, have released their tax returns for public scrutiny.

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