Tag Archives: Kansas

today’s birthday: John Brown (1800)


John Brown (1800)

Brown was an American abolitionist who advocated and practiced armed insurrection as a means to abolish all slavery. After murdering five proslavery settlers in Kansas in 1856, Brown led an unsuccessful raid on the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, in 1859. He was convicted of treason and hanged. His raid made him a martyr to northern abolitionists and increased the sectional animosities that led to the American Civil War. What future general captured Brown at Harpers Ferry? More… Discuss

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today’s holiday: Finnish Sliding Festival (2015)


Finnish Sliding Festival (2015)

Patterned after the traditional event in Finland that celebrates Shrove Tuesday before the beginning of Lent, the Finnish Sliding Festival, or Laskiainen, has been held in White, Minnesota, every winter for more than 50 years. It features two large ice slides, which are constructed at the edge of Loon Lake. People bring their sleds or toboggans for an exciting ride down the slide onto the frozen lake. Other activities at the weekend event include log-sawing contests, Finnish music and dance performances, and traditional Finnish foods such as oven pancakes and pea soup. More… Discuss

today’s birthday: Douglas MacArthur (1880)


Douglas MacArthur (1880)

MacArthur is a major figure in US military and diplomatic history. He commanded a brigade in France during World War I and was commander of the Philippine military establishment in the late 1930s, but he is best remembered for the vital role he played in the Pacific theater of World War II and for his command of UN forces during the Korean War. Many Americans viewed MacArthur as a hero, but he was suddenly relieved of his post by President Truman at the height of the Korean War for what reason? More… Discuss

picture of the day: Wyatt Earp Dies (Painting by Don Prechtel)


Wyatt Earp Dies

Frontiersman Wyatt Earp died on January 13, 1929, after an illustrious life in the West. Born in Illinois in 1848, he served as a lawman in Wichita and Dodge City, Kansas, as well as Tombstone, Arizona Territory, where Wyatt and his brothers Morgan and Virgil were notorious for violent clashes with outlaws. Western historians have disagreed about the particulars of Wyatt Earp’s life, but he is said to have been a freighter-teamster, railroad construction worker, policeman, prisoner, saloon keeper and horse farmer, and he was involved in several gunfights–for reasons that may or may not have been related to law enforcement. When Morgan was killed, Wyatt avenged his death by killing Frank Stilwell, an outlaw he had previously arrested.

Painting by Don Prechtel

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today’s photo: The Cattle Kingdom (image: National Archives)



The Cattle Kingdom
In 1866, when the transcontinental railroad reached Abilene, Kansas, Chicago livestock buyer J.G. McCoy saw the possibilities of linking the unwanted herds of Texas longhorns with the meat-packing centers of Chicago. McCoy built a series of holding pens in Abilene and convinced south Texas ranchers to drive the cattle north along the Chisholm Trail to the railhead. In 1867, McCoy shipped 35,000 cattle to Chicago to end up on American dinner tables, and by 1871 this number had grown to 600,000. Abilene may have been the first cow town, but disease and rowdy cowboys shifted the cow capital first to Wichita, then to Dodge City, Kansas. The profits to be made were immense, with a $5 steer in Texas bringing up to $45 in Kansas. In fact, the profitability of the cattle kingdom was one of the factors contributing to its demise in 1886. Greedy ranchers dangerously overstocked the grasslands with cattle by the mid-1880s. Then, on January 1, 1886, a great blizzard buried the eastern and southern plains, killing 50 to 85 percent of the herds. The cattle industry survived, but in a very different form. The freewheeling cowboy of American legend became a ranch hand. Although the cattle kingdom lasted only a single generation, the romanticized cowboy remains an enduring symbol of Western America.

Image: National Archives

– See more at: http://www.historynet.com/picture-of-the-day#sthash.M98Q7l3E.dpuf

THIS DAY IN THE YESTERYEAR: Brown v. Board of Education Decided (1954)


Brown v. Board of Education Decided (1954)

In 1951, a class action suit was filed against the Board of Education of the City of Topeka, Kansas, by 13 African-American parents on behalf of their children. The plaintiffs argued that segregating schools along racial lines violated the students’ 14th Amendment right to equal protection under the law. The case was heard by the US Supreme Court, which unanimously agreed that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.” What future Supreme Court judge represented the plaintiffs? More… Discuss

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