Hometown Teams Speakers & Programs
Great exhibit, informational speakers for fans of all games
Hometown teams will also feature a series of diverse programs that touch on sports events across our Hometowns
These special programs are made possible by the Kansas Humanities Council and are part of the KHC Speakers Bureau, featuring presentations and discussions that connect communities with history, traditions and ideas to strengthen civic life. These events are partially supported by generous gifts from the Johnson County Community College Foundation and the Rotary Club of Shawnee Mission to honor the memory of Fred Krebs, a lifelong advocate of the humanities in Kansas.
Upcoming Special Programs
Thur. July 9 - 6:30 pm
"The Kansas City Monarchs in Our Hometown" presented by Phil Dixon - baseball historian
Formed in 1920, the Kansas City Monarchs revolutionized baseball: not only were they charter members of the Negro National League and the first professional baseball team to use outdoor lighting, the Monarchs sent more players to the major leagues than any other Negro League franchise. Mr. Dixon will explore the barnstorming days, the great players; Satchel Paige and Jackie Robinson, etc., and connect the places and teams the Monarchs played - including ballgames in Atchison. Dixon has also researched Bert Jones playing for the Atchison semi-pro teams in the 1890s (1896 the last year) who was the last African American playing integrated baseball before the color barrier went up.
Phil S. Dixon, a co-founder of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, has authored nine books about baseball, including biographies of Wilber "Bullet" Rogan and John "Buck" O'Neil. In his research he has interviewed over 500 former Negro League players and family members.
Sun. July 12 - 4 pm
"Anetso, the Cherokee Ball Game" by Mike Zogry - KU Director of Indigenous Studies/Assoc. Prof. Religious Studies and Hometown Teams tour scholar
Anetso, a centuries-old Cherokee ball game, is a vigerous, sometimes violent activity that rewards speed, strength and agility. A precursor to lacrosse, Cherokee people still play Anetso today. Observers note that the Cherokee Ball Game is the focus of several linked ritual activities. Is it a sport, or a religious ritual? Could it be both? And why has it survived thorugh centuries of upheaval and change? Drawing from his book <Anetso, the Cherokee Ball Game: At the Center of Ceremony and Identity>, Hometown Teams Tour Scholar Dr. Michael J. Zogry will consider these questions as he provides a multimedia introduction to Anetso.
Tues. July 21 - 6:30 pm
"The Forgotton Jayhawk: John McLendon" presented by Milton Katz professor of humanities Kansas City Art Institute
Kansas native John B. McLendon, a protege of James Naismith, used sporting achievement to inspire pride and bring democracy in America closer to reality. He was the first coach to win three consecutive national titles and the first African American coach of an integrated professional team. This program will explore McLendon's uplifting story of struggle and courageous triumph. Katz will tie in McLendon's recruiting of Atchison (Lincoln School) Kittens players to come to North Carolina College (now North Carolina Central University). The most notable Atchison player for McLendon was Rudolph "Rocky" Roberson who broke the men's basketball national scoring record with 58 points in 1943 (held the single game scoring record into the era of modern basketball in the 1950s). Sportscaster Bill Stern's coast-to-coast report of Roberson's feat for McLendons NCC Team marked the first national recognition for a player from an Historically Black College or University.
Milton Katz is a professor of humanities at Kansas City Art Institutie and the author of three books and many articles that tell the stories of social justice leaders in contempory American History. His book about John B. McLendon has received many awards, including the William Rockhill Nelson award for literary excellence.
Thur. July 23 - 6:30 pm
"Athletic Cathederals of Kansas" presented by Jordon Poland - Kansas Sports Hall of Fame
"What's great about Kansas is that we boast some of the oldest and most iconic athletic venues in the nation, while also having some fo the newest and modern venues." Kansans cheer for their sports teams in a variety of buildings. Whereas some commemorate fallen soldiers, others are meant to lift the community spirits or dazzle us with the newest technologies. This program will explore a variety of sports venues, from Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence to the Hornet's Nest in Dighton, Hubbard Stadium in Smith Center to Veteran's Stadium in Coffeyville, among others. - PENDING - We hope to host This evening will also pay tribute to Atchison County's newest Hall of Famer - Matthew "Chic" Downing - who played in one of northeast Kansas' most infamous basketball "pits" in the old Benedictine College gymnasium where the students and local fans were nearly on the court and always riding the visiting teams.
Jordon Poland is the Director of the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame in Wichita.