Ken Burns’ latest documentary delves into the causes and experiences of the worst man-made ecological disaster in American history. “The Dust Bowl” chronicles, “the frenzied wheat boom of the “Great Plow-Up,” followed by a decade-long drought during the 1930s nearly swept away the breadbasket of the nation. Vivid interviews with twenty-six survivors of those hard times, combined with dramatic photographs and seldom seen movie footage, bring to life stories of incredible human suffering and equally incredible human perseverance. It is also a morality tale about our relationship to the land that sustains us—a lesson we ignore at our peril.”
Following the screening, Duncan will join Rex Buchanan, interim director of the Kansas Geological Survey, and Sara Gregg, KU assistant professor of history, in panel discussion moderated by KCPT’s Randy Mason.
Peruse a display of items from KU Libraries’ collections which document the dust bowl’s impacts on this region and hear local musician Larry Garrett perform songs from and inspired by the era.
6:30 | Film screening and panel discussion, Truman Forum Auditorium
In Lakin, Kansas, three children prepare to leave for school wearing goggles and homemade dust masks to protect them from the dust in 1935. Photo credit: Courtesy of Joyce Unruh; Green Family Collection
The Vikings were among the fiercest warriors of all time. Yet only a select few carried the ultimate weapon of their era: the feared Ulfberht sword. Fashioned using a process that would remain unknown to the Vikings’ rivals for centuries, the Ulfberht was a revolutionary high-tech tool as well as a work of art. Considered one of the greatest swords ever made, it remains a fearsome weapon more than a millennium after it last saw battle. But how did Viking sword makers design and build the Ulfberht, and what was its role in history? Now, NOVA uses cutting-edge science and old-fashioned detective work to reconstruct the Ulfberht and finally unravel the mystery of the Viking sword.
What are the details behind the heroic acts pictured in a poster about two African-American soldiers in World War I? Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) helps find the answer. Then, is this a hand-drawn map of Valley Forge that George Washington used during the American Revolution? And does a Tucson man own one of the first transistor radios ever made? Finally, after 70 years, a Washington man wonders whether a business card ties his father to Prohibition-era underworld crime.
OUR COLORED HEROES with KANSAS CITY CONNECTION
Host Tukufu Zuberi switched roles for this story and brought a question of his own to HISTORY DETECTIVES. Tukufu collects posters featuring African Americans in combat. One in particular intrigues him. Titled Our Colored Heroes, text on the poster tells an incredible World War I story. A raiding party of more than 20 Germans attacked two African American doughboys on sentry duty. The poster quotes General Pershing who praises the two colored sentries who ‘continued fighting after receiving wounds and despite the use of grenades by a superior force.’ Did all of this actually happen? And why was this poster made? Tukufu, along with fellow HISTORY DETECTIVES host Elyse Luray track down the truth, and call on the insight of U.S. Senator Charles Schumer to answer Tukufu’s question.
The family involved, the Herman Johnson family, apparently has a prominent standing both at UMKC and KU. Herman Johnson was a Tuskegee Airman. UMKC has a minority scholarship in his name and a building named after Herman and his wife, Herman and Dorothy Johnson Hall. KU has a Dorothy Johnson scholarship fund.
Their daughter Tara Johnson, who lives in Toledo, OH, frequently travels to KC for business, the company name: Herman Johnson, LLC. Tara and her son DeMarqus appear in the story.