Words … History

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I think history can teach us so much, if we just pay attention.

    One soldier’s journey to Vietnam and home again reflects the evolving conflict that divided so much of America during the 1960s and beyond
    This essay is based upon the novel, Born on the Fourth of July, by Ron Kovic. Using Kovic’s personal, painful story as its basis, I illustrate how the Vietnam war, with its life and death ramifications, became a polarizing flash point that touched upon many of the issues that divided so many Americans during those years – politics, patriotism, class differences, social dissent, the growth of the counterculture with its sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Read pdf »

    Sowing the roots of movements to come
    In this essay, I examine how many of the principles, strategies, and tactics developed by the civil rights organizations during their early years were the inspiration and source of concrete actions for future social movements of the Sixties and beyond. I also consider the validity of the claim that the new-found respect within these different groups has chipped away at a sense of a national American identity. Read pdf »

    It all depends on what you mean by “failure”
    In this essay I argue that, despite the fact that some argue that the excesses of the activists during the Sixties unleashed a conservative backlash that hinders progressive causes to this day, the New Left was not a failure. I consider the political, social, economic, and cultural movements that arose during those years and the lasting transformations they brought about, as well as the arguments that the excesses of the later part of the decade undid any good they achieved. Read pdf »

    From watching movies to making movies – Kansas City has done it all.
    To learn about Kansas City’s movie history, I spent a great deal of time at the K.C. Public Library going through their Special Collections and gathering first-hand accounts of movie theatres, films that had been shot here, and plans to bring additional films to Kansas City.I discuss the history of films in Kansas City that stretches from the original showing of a moving picture in 1897, through the production of the first civic film in the nation in the early 1900s, to Kansas City’s grand movie theatres boom during the 1920s. Later, I discuss drive-ins as well as locally-owned AMC Theatres’ contribution to movie-goers around the world – the multiplex.
    I also examine how Kansas City has sometimes been portrayed in the films, as well as how there is a growing drive to bring filmmakers to Kansas City to shoot the films themselves. As an aspiring documentary filmmaker, it is heartening to know that Kansas City is working to become known as a “go-to” place for films. In addition, I came to see that there are interesting stories to be told right in our own backyard. Read pdf »