Speakers Roster


Constance Alexander
Constance Alexander
Kentucky Writer, Columnist
Murray, KY

Work Phone: (270) 753-9279
Email: calexander9@murraystate.edu

History & Writing

Kilroy Was Here: Children on the Home Front, World War II

On December 7, 1941, the USA was plunged into World War II; life changed for everyone, including the children on the home front. Kilroy Was Here tells stories of one Kentucky family through soldiers' letters, a recipe, radio advertisements, and a series of oral history interviews conducted with people who were growing up during that turbulent time. Ms. Alexander's presentation features excerpts from her book, Kilroy Was Here, and allows time for questions and discussion of oral history as a way to capture family history and community stories that should not be forgotten.

Who Needs June Cleaver: Family History & Civic Journalism

When the publisher of Murray’s newspaper asked Constance Alexander to pen a column in 1989, he said she could write about anything, “as long as it’s not political or controversial.” She accepted that challenge and has penned weekly installments of Main Street ever since. Her award-winning essays have inspired community discussion on a range of newsworthy topics — including cancer, the arts, politics and caregiving — but her most popular columns have been about growing up in a small town far from Calloway County, in Metuchen, New Jersey. Alexander’s presentation features short selections from her award-winning columns, as well as discussion of the crucial role local media plays in rural America.

Equipment needs: Microphone

Morgan Akinson
Morgan C. Akinson
Documentary Writer & Producer
Louisville, KY

Work Phone: 502-553-5095 (cell)
Home Phone: 502-637-7840
Email: mocoat@bellsouth.net

Kentucky History & Culture

Wonder: The Lives of Anna and Harlan Hubbard

This presentation includes the viewing of Atkinson’s documentary about the Hubbards which
examines the lives of these two remarkable Kentuckians who lived for 40 years on the banks of the Ohio. Anna and Harlan Hubbard lived life as few people in modern times have and in doing so accomplished at least two things that are very rare — contentment and freedom. In a house they built by hand, sustained by food they raised or caught, aided by no electricity or modern “convenience,” the Hubbards met the world on their own terms and found deep meaning. “Wonder” considers the Hubbard’s astonishing life of freedom and what it says to Americans today. The documentary has appeared on KET.

Thomas Merton: A Kentuckian Claimed by the World

Atkinson has developed two documentaries on Thomas Merton. These documentaries bring to life the inspiring thought of the Trappist monk who was considered one of the 20th century’s most important spiritual writers. This presentation features highlights of the two documentaries and illustrates Merton’s growth as a spiritual thinker. Among the featured interviews are one with the Dalai Lama, who was a personal friend of Merton’s.

Mike Austin
Mike Austin
Profesor of Philosophy Eastern Kentucky University
Eastern Kentucky University
Richmond, KY

Work Phone: 859-622-1400
Home Phone: 859-979-1355 (cell)
Email: mike.austin@eku.edu


Social Media and the Pursuit of Happiness

A central part of a happy life is having deep relationships with others. One reason for the success of social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram is that they provide new avenues of communication with others in our own community and around the world. In many ways, the value of these technologies depends on us. We can choose how to use them to foster deep relationships. However, they can also undermine our ability to connect with others. In this talk, Austin will discuss the pros and cons of social media, from a moral and psychological point of view. Austin will also offer some practical advice for using social media in a way that supports, rather than undermines, our pursuit of happiness.

Equipment needs: A computer projector for PowerPoint is preferred, but not required.

Becoming Good

In recent years, there has been a renewal of interest concerning character. Character matters. Companies and colleges are not just concerned with the credentials of prospective employees and students, but with their character. For all of the concern about character, we focus less on how to develop it. In this presentation, Professor Austin will share what psychology, philosophy, and many of world’s great wisdom traditions have to say about building character.

Wes Berry
Wes Berry
Kentucky Writer
Bowling Green, KY

Home Phone: (270) 202-0228
Email: wes.berry@wku.edu

Culture & Cuisine

Kentucky BBQ from the Big Muddy to Appalachia

Kentucky's mom and pop barbecue joints serve some of the most soulful food you can find. The pit tenders and owners (often the same person) burn a lot of hardwood and work long hours to delight us with their smoky arts. From 2009-2012, Dr. Wes Berry hit the blue highways of Kentucky to eat the barbecue and interview the pitmasters. He features his favorite places in The Kentucky Barbecue Book. Berry will talk about regional styles of Kentucky barbecue and the colorful people he met during his journeys; offer a slideshow featuring the people, pits, and plates; and share selections from the book.

Kentucky's Environmental Heritage: A Literary Perspective

Kentucky’s natural resources — water, forests, coal, fertile farmland, and wildlife — have been celebrated in art from John James Audubon to James Archambeault. This gift of good land has also brought conflict to the Commonwealth — disagreements on how to best manage and use these resources. Various Kentucky writers have responded to the land issues in fiction, poetry, and essays. This talk surveys Kentucky’s environmental literary legacy, focusing on key conflicts and writers of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Charles Bogart
Charles H. Bogart
Frankfort Parks & Historical Sites
Frankfort, KY

Work Phone: (502) 682-9491
Home Phone: (502) 227-2436
Email: cmabogart@aol.com

Kentucky History

Guarding the Kentucky Central Railroad 1861-1865

The Kentucky Central Railroad ran from Covington via Falmouth, Paris, and Lexington to Nicholasville. It was the railhead for Camp Nelson. The rail line was twice attacked by John Hunt Morgan's command and heavily damaged during the occupation of Central Kentucky by General Kirby Smith's Confederate Army. The Battle of Cynthiana centered around the protection of the Kentucky Central. The great failure of Morgan's 1864 Raid was that while he capture Lexington, Union forces prevented him from destroying the city's railroad shops. This presentation covers the importance of the Kentucky Central to the war effort, the attacks upon it, and the defensive fortifications built to defend the line.

Yellow Sparks Over the Bluegrass — Streetcar Lines of Kentucky

Louisville was the first city in Kentucky to have a horsecar line and Covington the last city to have streetcar service. Between 1850 and 1950, Paducah, Bowling Green, Owensboro, Henderson, Louisville, Frankfort, Covington, Newport, Georgetown, Lexington, Richmond, Winchester, Maysville, Somerset, Barbourville, Middlesboro, and Ashland all had streetcar service. Interurban lines tied Ashland to Huntington, West Virginia, and Ironton, Ohio; Lexington to Paris, Georgetown, Versailles, Frankfort and Nicholasville; Louisville to Shelbyville and LaGrange; and Henderson to Evansville, Indiana. This talk provides a short history by each city of the operations of each streetcar and interurban line in Kentucky. A map is provided for each city showing where the lines ran, and supporting photos show the cars that operated in that city.

Equipment needs: Screen

Spencer & Linda Brewer
Spencer & Linda Brewer
Central City, KY

Work Phone: (270) 543-5326
Home Phone: (270) 754-9317
Email: slbrewer10@hotmail.com


Kentucky Flags = Kentucky History

This presentation will explore some of Kentucky's most famous flags, using them as a teaching tool in the discussion of Kentucky's history. A few of the flags featured in the discussion include:
• THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER: The United States flag consisting of fifteen stars and fifteen stripes. At the time of it's use it was commonly known as The Kentucky Flag.
• 20th KENTUCKY VOL. INF U.S. FLAG: The 20th Kentucky's Flag was presented by "The Loyal Ladies" of Lexington and is so inscribed.
• 4TH KENTUCKY CONFEDERATE INFANTRY: This flag was preserved after the battle of Jonesburg, Georgia, by Mrs. Bettie Phillips of Uniontown, Kentucky. Mrs. Phillips was the wife of Capt. William S. Phillips, and officer of the Fourth Kentucky.

Kentucky Civil War Flags: Union & Confederate

This presentation will discuss Civil War flags and look at Mrs. Bettie Phillips of Union County Kentucky. Mrs. Phillips was able to smuggle the 4th Kentucky C.S.A. flag through Union lines and save it for posterity. It now resides in the Kentucky Historical Society Collection in Frankfort.

Roberta Simpson Brown
Roberta Simpson Brown
Kentucky Writer
Louisville, KY

Work Phone: (502) 244-0022
Home Phone: (502) 244-1291
Email: robertasbrown@twc.com


Kentucky Holiday Hauntings

This talk relates stories from Brown's books that are focused on true holiday hauntings in Kentucky. Some people do not know that Christmas, not Halloween, used to be the traditional time for ghost stories. Families and friends usually came for extended visits at holidays, and not having modern means of entertainment, they gathered around a fireplace or stove in winter or outside on the porch or under the stars in warm weather, and entertained themselves by telling ghost stories. This program reminds us of long ago Kentucky customs that are an important part of our heritage.

Ghosts in Kentucky's Heritage and Tradition

This talk will provide true Kentucky ghost stories from Brown's books that will entertain and remind audiences of customs and beliefs that comprise an important part of our heritage. Beekeeping, weather, forecasting, turkey drives, pie suppers, berry picking, and chivarees are just some of the subjects that come from an almost forgotten way of life. This combination o ghostly commentary and ghostly encounters promotes the importance of preserving our family stories and passing them on to future generations. Audience members are encouraged to ask questions and to share their own stories.

Equipment needs: Hand-held microphone

Stephen Brown
Stephen A. Brown
Kentucky Writer, Former Education Specialist
Abraham Lincoln Birthplace NHP
Louisville, KY

Work Phone: (270) 307-0150
Email: HelloStephenB@gmail.com


The Underground Railroad in Kentucky

In this multimedia presentation, Brown will demonstrate the influences of slavery on Abraham Lincoln’s early years in Kentucky. A National Park Service research grant made it possible for Brown to document slave-owning neighbors and Underground Railroad activity in all of Kentucky.

Abraham Lincoln: Exploring Greatness

Abraham Lincoln’s formative years in Kentucky had a lasting influence on his life, shaping him into the man he was destined to become. Primary documents from recent research into his father’s land speculation offer insights into the turbulent years spent in Kentucky. In addition, excerpts from a research paper, “The Misunderstood Mary Todd Lincoln,” counter charges of insanity and explain how her immersion in Kentucky politics proved invaluable to Lincoln’s political career.

Grab a Glut: Pioneer Life in Kentucky

Grab a glut, hang on to that froe and let’s rive some shingles: This is an interactive talk about pioneer life and early Kentucky history. Learn about Kentucky’s native son, Abraham Lincoln, his rail splitting skills, the clothes he wore, the food he ate, and how tools changed the frontier.

Bobbie Smith Bryant
Bobbie Smith Bryant
Kentucky Writer
Louisville, KY

Work Phone: (502) 494-7076 (cell)
Home Phone: (502) 244-6250
Email: bobbiebryant40@gmail.com

Kentucky History & Culture

Life in the Black Patch

An educational overview of the past 200 years of farm life, this presentation features the social and cultural aspects of a 10-generation, western Kentucky farm family. Learn about the elements of daily living on the farm that shaped traditions and families, from early settlement to modern times.

Cooking the Kentucky Way

Dining customs and tasty food have a long history in Kentucky. Learn about the traditions of living off the land and making do with resources at hand. Experience the traditions of cooking and serving as an expression of love for your family through personal gifts and talents.

Dark-Fired Tobacco: A Kentucky Tradition

This informative presentation gives a brief overview of tobacco’s history from prehistoric times, through to the Black Patch Wars of the early 20th century. The audience will learn the process of tobacco cultivation, specifically the dark-fired production process, found only is this area of western Kentucky and Tennessee.

Quilting: A Legacy of Love

Learn how the simple act of making something beautiful from scraps gave women a voice in the days when they had little or none. This presentation pays tribute to the great quilters we have in Kentucky. Participants will get an overview of quilting as craft, and learn about the impact of quilting on women in America.

Pem Davidson Buck
Pem Davidson Buck
Professor Emerita of Anthropology
Elizabethtown Community and Technical College
Elizabethtown, KY

Home Phone: 270-369-7886
Email: pem.buck@kctcs.edu


United We Might Have Stood, but Divided We Did Fall

In the early 1900s tobacco farmers in Kentucky and Tennessee rose up against the monopoly tactics of American Tobacco Company. Poverty stalked the lives of many tobacco-growing families; malnutrition gained a foot-hold in the lives of many children, people worked themselves to the bone only to be deeper in debt at the end of the growing season. American Tobacco, having eliminated other buyers, paid prices that didn’t cover even the basic costs of growing tobacco. This presentation discusses the farmer’s revolt as they attempted to force American Tobacco to pay higher prices and the way the divides of race, class, and gender made them vulnerable to the tactics that ultimately conquered them.

Equipment needs: Projector for PowerPoint

Bacon’s Rebellion, Indentured Servants, Africans, Native People, and Tobacco

In Colonial Virginia, money grew, not on trees, but quite literally on tobacco stalks. Massive riches were available for those with big estates — but who was going to do the backbreaking work tobacco required? A labor force was gradually put together: English, African, and Native American. Working under what were often truly awful conditions, they produced the wealth of colonial Virginia. Many from this labor force eventually joined together in revolt, taking advantage of Bacon’s Rebellion of 1676. This talk explores these relationships and the measures the large landowners took after Bacon’s Rebellion to ensure that their tobacco work force would never again join together in rebellion. In the process they literally and legislatively invented race, whiteness, and what became the U.S. form of slavery.

Megan Burnett
Megan Burnett
Assistant Professor of Theatre, Bellarmine University
Louisville, KY

Home Phone: (502) 299-7156 (cell)
Email: mburnett@bellarmine.edu


Mattie Griffith Browne: Kentucky Abolitionist & Suffragist

(Martha) Mattie Griffith Browne was a driven, self-motivated woman from Kentucky. Born in the early 19th century in Louisville, to a family of wealth and privilege, she received a formal education, became a prolific writer and was raised with slaves serving her family. Yet she freed the slaves she inherited. Browne is best known for her book, Autobiography of a Female Slave, followed by Madge Vertner published in serial form in the National Anti-Slavery Standard. Browne gives us an insight into the thoughts and fears of the slave, Ann, in her book. She took a great risk in writing a book that would provide sympathy for the enslaved Africans throughout the South. She took an even greater risk in freeing her slaves. Browne was an important, albeit unknown figure and provided an important voice for the abolitionist movement in Kentucky and in the United States.

Women of the Settlement Schools in Eastern Kentucky

Late in the 19th century, women from central Kentucky and New England were instrumental in creating centers of learning in southeastern Kentucky called settlement schools. Alice Lloyd and June Buchanan started Caney Creek Community Center, which eventually became Alice Lloyd College, a private work-study college in Pippa Passes. Katherine Pettit and May Stone started the Hindman Settlement School in 1902. Other settlement schools include Pine Mountain Settlement School, Lotts Creek Community School, Henderson Settlement School, Redbird Mission School, Stuart Robinson School and Kingdom Come School. Many of these schools are still in existence, though some have a new mission. These women often spent the rest of their lives in these small, rural communities in Appalachia, dedicated to the education of the people in the mountains of Kentucky. This presentation will share their story and their legacies.

Diane Calhoun-French
Diane M. Calhoun-French
Provost and Vice-President, Jefferson Community and Technical College
Louisville, KY

Work Phone: (502) 213-2621
Home Phone: (502) 500-2176 (Cell)
Email: Diane.Calhoun-French@kctcs.edu

Popular Culture

Reading in the Age of the Kindle

Do you have a Kindle? Read on an iPad, a Nook, or another electronic reader? This talk will explore how the traditional experience of reading has changed or been adapted in the digital age. Topics will include how print features (like turning pages and bookmarking) have been adapted to simulate “real” reading, how companies are trying to reintroduce serialized novels through digital means, and what it means to “own” a digital book. And, of course, no discussion would be complete without arguing which is better — print or electronic!

Margaret Mitchell's Tara: Myth and Reality

Perhaps no home in popular American literature is more famous than Margaret Mitchell’s Tara, the home of Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind. This slide presentation will examine Mitchell’s Tara, David O. Selznick’s interpretation of Tara in the 1939 film, and Tara as an icon that continues to wield its power even today.

A Cultural History of Paper Dolls

More than just toys that little girls used to play with, paper dolls have a long and interesting history intertwined with the rise of consumer products aimed at women. This illustrated presentation will give a brief history of the paper doll and discuss its place in women's culture. Bring any paper dolls you have to share!

James Claypool
James C. Claypool
Prof. Emeritus of History, Northern Ky University, Coeditor, Encyclopedia of Northern Kentucky
Park Hills, KY 4

Home Phone: (859) 431-1341
Email: JimClaypool38@gmail.com

Cultural History

The Kentucky Derby: A Celebration of Kentucky and its Heritage

Claypool traces the origins and development of the Kentucky Derby, the world's most famous horse race and a powerful influence on Kentucky society and culture. He will use memorabilia collected during his 40-year passion for the race.
Equipment needs: Microphone and a small table

Rascals, Heroes, and Just Plain Uncommon Folks from Kentucky

In this talk, Claypool will profile a choice selection of the many colorful Kentuckians—male and female, noted and notorious—whose stories make our history so interesting and entertaining. The format of the program contains an exciting and stimulating surprise for the audience.
Equipment needs: Microphone and a small table

Berry Craig
Berry Craig
Professor Emeritus, West Kentucky Community and Technical College
Mayfield, KY

Work Phone: (270) 705-1640
Email: bcraig8960@gmail.com

Kentucky History

The Pirates of the Ohio

In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, outlaws infested the lower Ohio River. They preyed on flatboats, keelboats and on westward-bound settlers traveling isolated backroads. One of the gang leaders, Big Jim Ford, covered his bloody misdeeds by serving as Livingston County’s sheriff. His sins ultimately found him out and he was shot, purportedly by the teenage son of one of his gang’s victims. Another brigand, the notorious Micajah Harp, was captured by a posse and decapitated — supposedly while he was still alive. The law officers stuck his his head on a tree limb in Webster County. The spot near Dixon, the county seat, is still called “Harp’s Head.”

The Three Bs of Old-Time Kentucky Politics: Bombast, Burgoo, and Bourbon

Kentucky politics was characterized by the three Bs — Bombast, Bourbon, and Burgoo. This talk examines each element singularly and ends by combining all three in a story that proves that politics is indeed “the damnedest in Kentucky.” This talk is non-partisan and features many stories that Craig included in his book, True Tales of Old-Time Kentucky Politics: Bombast, Bourbon, and Burgoo, which is in its second printing.

Terri Blom Crocker
Terri Blom Crocker
Kentucky Writer
Georgetown, KY

Work Phone: (859) 257-5485
Home Phone: (859) 797-8620
Email: tbcroc2@uky.edu


The Christmas Truce: A Day of Peace in the Midst of War

The Christmas truce, which took place in the first year of the "war to end all wars," has been assumed to represent the rebellion of the troops of the Western Front against the First World War. However, an examination of the letters and diaries of the soldiers involved, as well as official records such as war diaries and regimental histories, demonstrate that the truce was entered into by soldiers who merely wanted a day off from a difficult war, and were happy to celebrate Christmas with their enemies while remaining convinced of the need to defeat them. Focusing on the experience of the British soldiers who fraternized with their German counterparts in No-Man's-Land on December 24, 1914, this talk will reveal how soldiers' attitudes toward the war were different from what we now believe.

Equipment needs: Computer, projector and screen for PowerPoint

The First World War: Myth v. Reality

The First World War has become a by-word for waste and futility, a senseless war that was despised by the soldiers who fought in it. Tracing the origin of those myths helps us examine the process by which history is created and analyze why our relationship with the past reflects our current understanding of the world. Drawing upon soldiers' letters, war diaries, newspaper accounts, fiction and history books, this talk will focus on the First World War, while posing provocative questions about the role of history, popular culture and fiction in shaping our views of the past.

Equipment needs: Computer, orojector and screen for PowerPoint

Richard Crowe
Richard Crowe
Retired Professor
Hazard, KY

Work Phone: (606) 216-2916
Email: richard.crowe@ymail.com

Kentucky History

A Giant Love Story: Martin Van Buren Bates and Anna Swan

Martin Van Buren Bates was one of the most famous people of his era. He knew U.S. Presidents and European Royalty. He was also listed in the Guiness Book of World Records as the tallest man in the world. Bates lived in Letcher County, Kentucky, where he was a young school teacher in a one-room schoolhouse south of Whitesburg. He later served for the Johnny Rebs during the Civil War. Following the War he toured with various circuses throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe. But the greatest aspect of his life was his love affair and marriage to Anna Swan, the tallest woman in the world. Together they shared a special life and left behind a love story that needs to be heard.

Equipment needs: Projector and screen for PowerPoint

Kentucky’s Most Interesting Man: Bad John Wright

Bad John Wright — also known as Devil John — was called Kentucky’s most interesting man by Joe Creason of the Louisville Courier-Journal. His life included serving on both sides during the Civil War, traveling the country and Europe as a sharp shooting horseman in the circus, returning to Kentucky as a lawman famous for tracking horse thieves and murders across the country for the rewards of local, state and national agencies. This presentation points out some of the challenges faced by Kentucky after the Civil War including feuding, lawlessness and the shortage of men for restarting families.

Equipment needs: Projector and screen for PowerPoint

Jerry Deaton
Jerry Deaton
Kentucky Writer and Filmmaker
Frankfort, KY

Home Phone: (502) 229-1249
Email: jdeaton@me.com

Mountain/Rural Culture

Harry Caudill: A Man of Courage, Constant to the End

I am currently working on a one hour documentary about the late author, environmentalist and social activist, Harry Caudill. Mr. Caudill wrote Night Comes to the Cumberlands in 1963, kicking off the war on poverty. His advocacy and work over the next 35 years lead to major changes in mining, educational, and environmental regulations in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The film will be ready by August or September of this year.

Equipment needs: Microphone, DVD player, projector and screen

Appalachian Ghost Stories: Tales from Bloody Breathitt

Jerry Deaton was raised in the Kentucky mountains. His upbringing set the stage for telling stories, especially ghost stories. Deaton carried on that tradition with his two daughters, eventually making up enough stories to write a book. This presentation will include a reading from his book Appalachian Ghost Stories: Tales from Bloody Breathitt.

Equipment needs: Microphone

Mattie Decker
Mattie Decker
Associate Professor
Dept. of Early Childhood, Elementary, and Special Education
Morehead State University
Morehead, KY

Work Phone: 606-783-2507
Home Phone: 606-784-9906 or 606-356-6456 (Cell)
Email: m.decker@moreheadstate.edu

Kentucky Education

Cora Wilson Stewart: An Amazing Legacy Alive Today

The story of Cora Wilson Stewart and the Moonlight Schools is an amazing story of one woman who not only increased literacy in eastern Kentucky but started a movement that spread across the country and into Europe with a concept born out of necessity and the light of the moon. “Miss Cora” became the first woman Superintendent of Schools for the state of Kentucky.

Equipment needs: Projector for PowerPoint, preferred but not required

History of Education in Kentucky

A focus on the beginnings of the one-room school houses across Kentucky...including a photo-journey of images and locations, as well as stories collected across the state. The state of transportation and roads played an important role in the spread of literacy and learning in Kentucky and this presentation provides graphic representation of the progression of innovations in education including the work of Cora Wilson Stewart in Rowan County.

Equipment needs: Projector for slideshow

Kathleen  Driskell
Kathleen Driskell
Professor of Creative Writing
Spalding University
Louisville, KY

Work Phone: 502-4445-6047
Email: kdriskell@spalding.edu


Next Door to the Dead

When Kathleen Driskell tells her husband “she’s gone to visit the neighbors,” she means something different than most. The noted poet lives in an old country church just outside of Louisville. Next door is an old graveyard which she was told had fallen out of use. In her new collection, Next Door to the Dead, this turns out not to be the case as the poet’s fascination with the “neighbors” brings the burial ground back to life. Driskell’s Next Door to the Dead transcends life and death, linking the often disconnected worlds of the living and the deceased. Just as the tombstones force the author to examine her own life, Driskell’s poems and their muses compel readers to examine their own mortality as well as how we impact the finite lives of those around us.

Writing from a Small Haunted Place

When Kathleen Driskell and her husband moved into an old country church built before the American Civil War, they thought their frustration would lie in renovating the old post and beam structure into their home. They found out quickly, though, that they had unwittingly inhabited a church rumored to be haunted. In her talk, Driskell will discuss her obsession to research the lore surrounding the community she lives in, and, also, how her writing career has been enriched by “writing from a small haunted place.” She will also share a few poems from her national bestselling poetry collection Seed Across Snow, which explores many of the tragedies that have occurred around her family’s home.

Ronald Elliott
Ronald Elliott
Kentucky Author
Bardstown, KY

Work Phone: (502) 349-9480 (Cell)
Home Phone: (502) 249-9840
Email: authoron@yahoo.com

Kentucky Basketball History

Sinister Influences: UK’s Fabulous Five and the 1951 Point Shaving Scandal

The passion that is the University of Kentucky basketball’s Big Blue Nation is not a recent phenomenon. Fans’ maniacal devotion traces back to Coach Adolph Rupp’s early days at UK. As Rupp grew into his job, his teams steadily grew more formidable until they became nearly invincible in what came to be known as UK’s “glory years,” 1946-1951. Then, in 1951, the roof caved in. Authorities arrested several UK players on charges of conspiring with gamblers to shave points. While that activity was poor ethics anywhere, it was illegal in the State of New York. As many of Kentucky’s games were played in Madison Square Garden, the players were guilty of a serious crime. Before it was over, 30 players from eight schools were implicated. Later, more Kentucky players, most notably Bill Spivey, were caught in the net.

Equipment needs: Screen

Coach Adolph Rupp’s All-Star Team

Beginning in 1968, Lexington sports writer John McGill peppered Rupp with questions designed to chip away at the coach’s all-time squad. Rupp would respond to queries such as “Who was the best passer?” and “Is it possible to name the best defensive player?” Finally, in 1976, McGill came up with a scheme which allowed the legendary coach to name his all-time best players. Sure to cause heated discussion, Elliott will reveal Rupp’s list and allow the audience to debate the merits and name their own candidates.

Equipment needs: Screen

Normandi Ellis
Normandi Ellis
Kentucky Writer
Frankfort, KY

Home Phone: (502) 352-7503
Email: ellisisis@aol.com


My Mother was a Character — Aren't Most Mothers?

Walking along the edge of fiction and memoir, Normandi Ellis helps is understand how story and humor shapes our lives —whether these stories are passed along as oral tales, memoir, or family stories crafted into fiction. She walks us through the decisions a writer makes to craft memoir or fiction, reads excerpts from her books Voice Forms, Going West, and Sorrowful Mysteries, and draws parallels to family journals and memoirs. She also gives a few tips on approaching story and memoir.

Talking with the Dead — In Search of the Kentucky Spiritualist

Kentucky has a finely feathered closet filled with eccentrics who were mediums, psychics, and spiritualists. Those people included Edgar Cayce, the Sleeping Prophet from Hopkinsville; Mary Todd Lincoln of Lexington, whose famed séances in the White House are often alluded to; and Mary Hollis of Louisville was known as a medium of physical phenomena. Campbellsville was the site of the First Spiritual Church. So, what exactly, is the the difference between spiritualist and fortune-teller? How does the history of spiritualism fit in with Kentucky's history of abolition, segregation, and prohibition? Ellis comes from a family with spiritualist connections, including a great aunt who served as a medium in Louisville and a great-grandfather who talked to spirits and tipped tables. This talk, filled with history and personal stories, promises to be both entertaining and enlightening.

Travel: Regions 3, 5, 6

John Ferré
John P. Ferré
Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Communications
Department of Communication
University of Louisville
Louisville, KY

Work Phone: (502) 852-2237
Email: ferre@louisville.edu


Outrageous Offenses and Insults: Religious Films that Riled the Faithful

At least since Cecil B. DeMille produced “King of Kings” in 1927, religion has been the subject of popular motion pictures. “Ben Hur,” “The Greatest Story Ever Told,” and “The Ten Commandments” have been favorites of commercial television for a half century. But beginning with “The Passion of Joan of Arc” in 1929 and continuing through such recent Hollywood blockbusters as “The Passion of Christ” and “The Da Vinci Code,” a number of movies about religion have offended the sensibilities of Protestants, Catholics, Jews, and Moslems. This talk examines the charges of sacrilege, immorality, and slander leveled against cinematic religion from the beginning of film until today.

Equipments needs: Screen

Animals are People, Too: Pet Heaven in Popular Books

Three out of four Americans may believe in heaven, but if the proliferation of books with titles such as Cold Noses at the Pearly Gates and Spirit Dogs: Heroes In Heaven is any indication, their belief extends beyond humans to the pets that they care for. In this presentation, Ferré will examine the reasoning in dozens of popular books to show how religious orthodoxy in America is in a state of flux.

Equipment needs: Screen

Steve Flairty
Steve Flairty
Kentucky Writer
Lexington, KY

Home Phone: (859) 494.0667
Email: sflairty2001@yahoo.com

Kentucky Heores

Kentucky's Everyday Heroes

This former public school teacher will share a selective sampling of stories of the "everyday heroes" he has interviewed and profiled in traveling more than 10,000 miles around Kentucky in the last decade. Flairty has chronicled his work in the book series Kentucky's Everyday Heroes I, II, and III along with a children's version. He also authored a biography called Tim Farmer: A Kentucky Woodsman Restored.

Kentucky's Everyday Heroes for Kids

This talk is based on Flairty's book Kentucky's Everyday Heroes for Kids, written for an intermediate elementary grade level. In the presentation, Flairty will share how to become and be an effective writer-author. He will talk about the influence of his early life on his writing, and tell more stories of "everyday heroes" in Kentucky found among the young and older alike.

Terry Foody
Terry Foody
Kentucky Writer
University of Kentucky
Lexngton, KY

Work Phone: (859) 539-6325 (Cell)
Home Phone: (859) 277-5291
Email: terryfoody@juno.com


Infectious Disaster! The 1833 Lexington Cholera Epidemic

During the 19th century, cholera raged through the United States several times, and Kentucky had very high fatality rates. In 1833, cholera killed one-tenth of Lexington’s population in just a few weeks. Foody will examine the devastation in Lexington from many angles — environmental, commercial, social, and medical. She will discuss early altruistic efforts, the black woman behind the white hero, the toll at the lunatic asylum, and societal trends revealed in death reports. Despite great medical advances, cholera is still a worldwide killer. Foody will explain why and compare it to other threatening global diseases, such as SARS and pandemic flu.

Equipment Needs: Microphone, projector, and screen

A New Yorker Finds Her Old Kentucky Home

When Terry Foody moved from New York state to Kentucky, her mother revealed that her family had lived in Kentucky and Missouri for several generations. Armed only with a list of their names, Foody went on a mission to find and stand on her ancestors’ land. In this talk she’ll describe the obstacles she ran into, including murky records and barbed wire, and the discoveries that made it all worthwhile: a hidden church, a lost road, an 1830s grave, and a special letter in a chocolate-covered-cherries candy box. She says it’s a journey of discovery any of us can make.

Equipment Needs: Microphone and projector, and screen

Michael Hail
Michael W. Hail
Professor of Government, Morehead State University
Somerset, KY

Work Phone: (859) 351-9997
Email: m.hail@moreheadstate.edu


Federalism, the Founding Fathers and the U.S. Constitution

The government developed by the U.S. Founding Fathers at the Philadelphia Convention reflects a “new order for the ages” and this talk presents the major principles of the constitution as well as its structure and function. Important political philosophers are reviewed for their influences to insightful commentary on American
government. The political significance of the Founding Fathers’ generation is emphasized, with specific consideration of George Washington, John Adams, John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, Roger Sherman, and John Dickinson. The original intent and leadership contributions of these founders is
reviewed in the establishment of the U.S. constitution. Questions like why we have an electoral college, and how it operates, are answered and the future challenges to our constitutional system are explored.

Politics and Government in the Commonwealth of Kentucky

This talk is a general overview of the major themes of the book, Kentucky Government, Politics, and Public Policy, published by the University Press of Kentucky. The early settlement of Kentucky, the road to statehood, and the development of the four constitutions of Kentucky are discussed. How the state government is organized under the present constitution, as well as how local governments are organized, are described. Everyone wants to understand why we have constables and magistrates, and why we have so many counties, and this talk answers those questions with data that will surprise many. How each of the regions of Kentucky were settled and the political culture that developed in them are important topics as well. The economic development of Kentucky’s economy from settlement to the present is reviewed and the major demographic factors are examined.

Mary Hamilton
Mary Hamilton
Professional Storyteller
Franfort, KY

Work Phone: 502-223-4523
Email: mary@maryhamilton.info


The Storytelling Art

Explore the heart of the art of storytelling with award-winning storyteller and writer Mary Hamilton, author of Kentucky Folktales: Revealing Stories, Truths, and Outright Lies. Using examples from her oral and written repertoire, Hamilton shines light on what storytelling is and how it functions both as a performing art and as an essential element of everyday life.

Equipment needs: Microphone on a pole stand

Liar, Liar, Storyteller

Kentuckians have long entertained each other by stretching the truth to impossibility. Learn about Kentucky’s tall tale telling traditions as storyteller and author Mary Hamilton shares selections from her book, Kentucky Folktales: Revealing Stories, Truths, and Outright Lies, and talks about where and how she encountered these tales.

Equipment needs: Microphone on a pole stand

Daryl Harris
Daryl L. Harris
Associate Professor Department of Theatre & Dance, Northern Kentucky University
Newport, KY

Work Phone: (859) 572-1472
Home Phone: (859) 250-1153
Email: harrisda@nku.edu

African-American History

Wanted: Freedom — Dead or Alive!

This talk explores and honors the lives and legacies of Kentucky travelers on the Underground Railroad. Rare newspaper “wanted notices for runaways” that provide detailed insight into these courageous individuals inspired this talk. These and other archival newspaper clippings along with texts from “Slave Narratives,” poems, and Negro spirituals give further texture to the lives, personalities, and plights of those who sought freedom by any means necessary: some via the Underground Railroad, others via the “Train to Glory.”

Lift Evr’y Voice and Sing!

For African Americans throughout the country, spirituals were the soundtracks upon which the Underground Railroad movement rolled. Freedom songs helped pave the way toward true liberation. Because of its geographical and political positioning, Kentucky gave birth to its own unique musical expressions. Not all African Americans in Kentucky were enslaved; therefore the reservoir of folk culture from which they drew their characteristic forms of expression was rich and deep — often without fixed boundaries between the sacred and the secular. In this talk, Harris takes the audience on a musical history tour through hurt, healing, and happiness.

Free at Last! Free at Last!

This presentation surveys the history of African Americans from Africa to today through the dramatic reading of poetry, archival slave narratives, news clippings, political speeches, and archival “runaway slave adds,” interspersed with “Negro Spirituals” and other traditional songs. While the format of this talk is nontraditional, the content is both informative and engaging.

John Harrod
John Harrod
Bluegrass Musician
Owenton, KY

Home Phone: (502) 484-2044
Email: lostjohnharrod@yahoo.com


In Search of the Lost Hornpipe: Kentucky’s Diverse Fiddling Traditions

The traditional fiddling of Kentucky is drawing the attention of a new generation of audiences, performers, and scholars. Because of its situation along the two main routes of western migration, the Wilderness Road and the Ohio River, Kentucky became an early melting pot of the cultures that settled the interior of North America in the 18th and 19th centuries. The elements of this cultural mixing were still to be found in the fiddle dialects Harrod recorded throughout the state between 1970 and 2000. From the African-American Monk Estill, the first fiddler to be mentioned by name in Kentucky history, to Luther Strong who was released from jail to be recorded by Alan Lomax, Harrod tells the story of the old fiddlers, their personalities, eccentricities, and exploits, as well as his own adventures documenting the last generation of performers who learned their music before the advent of radio and phonograph records.

Kentucky Women in Traditional Music

While it may have taken women some time to break into the world of bluegrass music, they had always been carriers of the old music traditions that bluegrass drew upon. With the changes wrought by the Great Depression and World War II, they were getting out of the home, into jobs, and onto radio. A musician and scholar, Harrod, who knew and recorded some of these pioneering performers, plays disc jockey with field and commercial recordings of white female singers, banjo players, and fiddlers who continue to inspire young women today who are finding a calling in Kentucky’s rich legacy of traditional music. From Lily May Ledford who left home at age 17 to begin her radio career in Chicago to Dora Mae Wagers who played on a haunted banjo, with interviews and stories he puts their lives and achievements into context and recalls some great music that continues to remind us who we are.

Louis Hatchett
Louis Hatchett
Kentucky Author
Henderson, KY

Work Phone: (270) 831-2999
Home Phone: (270) 827-3878
Email: lbhatch@henderson.net

History & Culture

The Importance of Duncan Hines

To many people, Duncan Hines may simply be a name on a cake mix package. What they may not know is that he shaped our nation’s expectations of restaurant service and the quality of its food. Before Hines came upon the American scene in the mid-1930s, it was routine for people to become sick or die from restaurant food poisoning. Duncan Hines, a traveling salesman, changed this state of affairs, from his home in Bowling Green, by telling people where they could go to avoid this calamity. Soon Americans only wanted to dine in restaurants that were recommended by Duncan Hines. Other restaurants across the country, aware that the public wanted what Hines was demanding of them, soon changed their ways. Eventually, the name Duncan Hines became a synonym for the last word in excellent quality. Hatchett tells the remarkable story of how this development in America’s cultural history came about, and how Hines’s effort culminated in his name being placed on those cake mix boxes.

Equipment needs: Microphone and podium

Mencken’s Americana

American writer and acerbic wit, H. L. Mencken, sometimes called America “Moronia.” His view was shaped by what he read in the nation’s newspapers, magazines, and pamphlets; what he heard in public speeches; and what he saw plastered on billboards, signs and doorways across the country, among many other forms of media. From 1924 to 1933 he collected and recorded the most hilarious examples of these observations in the “Americana” section of his magazine, The American Mercury. Hatchett gives an introduction to Mencken, discusses the social changes that were going through America during that era, and gives many examples of the zaniness that shaped Mencken’s opinion of fellow Americans.
Equipment needs: Microphone and podium

Richard Holl
Richard E. Holl
Professor of History, Hazard Community & Technical College
Mt. Sterling, KY

Home Phone: 859-499-4192
Email: Richard.Holl@kctcs.edu



Rosie-the-Riveter (inspired by Kentucky’s Rose Will Monroe) was the symbol for the strong, capable female war workers of World War II. Female war workers broke down barriers against employment of women, building bombers, fighter planes, tanks, ships, and other weapons. They helped get American soldiers in Europe and Asia the equipment, arms, and munitions they required to defeat German, Italian, and Japanese forces. Rosie-the-Riveter contributed immensely to American victory in World War II.

Equipment needs: Podium

Axis Prisoners of War in Kentucky

This talk is about German prisoners of war held in Kentucky prisoner of war camps during World War II. Fort Knox, Camp Campbell, and Camp Breckinridge all set up facilities to hold POWs, who were captured in Europe and North Africa and sent to the Commonwealth. Some 10,000 German POWs arrived here by the time all was said and done. U.S. authorities used the POWs as a labor source. Given the military draft and the need for women to work in war plants, a severe shortage of workers plagued the agricultural sector by 1943-1944. German POWs were pressed into service, bringing in much of the Kentucky tobacco crop in the fall of 1944 and the fall of 1945. They also harvested tomatoes, strawberries, and other fruits and vegetables. German POWs were repatriated in 1945-1946 and a fascinating episode in Kentucky history came to an end.

Equipment needs: Podium

J. Larry Hood
J. Larry Hood
Nicholasville, KY 40356

Work Phone: (859) 351-1030 (cell)
Home Phone: (859) 223-9825
Email: jhood188@windstream.net

Kentucky Culture

What is a Kentuckian?

This is a humorous and informative look at the enduring images Kentuckians and others have of the state and its people — from that of barefoot, warring hillbillies to southern aristocrats. The presentation will touch on Kentucky's core values of family and home, individualism and community, basketball and horse racing, snake handlers and mega churches, tobacco and whiskey and wine, yellow dog Democrats and dastardly Republicans. Kentucky will be presented as the nation's true borderland and heart.

Equipment Needed: Podium

"Amazing Grace," Kentucky, and the End of Slavery
The words to America's most beloved song came out of England, the melody out of Kentucky. Hood will discuss how the song came to be and its appearance in the nation's first block-buster novel, which in turn became the inspiration for the nation's most well-known state song, "My Old Kentucky Home." Hood will describe how the comforting, haunting Kentucky melody had its effect both abroad and at home in inspiring those who supported President Lincoln in his drive to preserve the Union and end slavery.

Equipment Needed: Podium

Jonathan Jeffrey
Jonathan Jeffrey
Manuscripts & Folklife Archives Coordinator, Western Kentucky University
Bowling Green, KY

Work Phone: (270) 745-5265
Home Phone: (270) 777-5371 (cell)
Email: jonathan.jeffrey@wku.edu

History & Culture

If These Stones Could Talk

For decades, Jeffrey has been prowling the Commonwealth's cemeteries collecting information about landscape architects, stone cutters, grave houses, monuments and their construction, and the people interred in these "alabaster cities of the dead." In this presentation, Jeffrey talks about the typical, the bizarre, and the always fascinating stories found in these cultural assets. He has selected 15 examples of cemetery monuments that emphasize the dash, that short lifeline between birth and death found on most grave markers.

Housing the Dead: Kentucky’s Grave Houses

Grave houses, structures built directly over interred remains, once liberally peppered Kentucky’s cultural landscape. Most, but not all, grave houses protect the grave, the tombstone, and other graveside mementoes, and on occasion even offer shelter for those paying their respects to the deceased. Using photos and drawings of the remaining 100 grave houses in Kentucky, ranging from Calloway County east to Harlan County and north to Robertson County, Jeffrey explains how and why these architectural oddities found their way into and now out of Kentucky cemeteries. He also relays poignant stories about the people — often children — who are buried beneath these “posthumous displays of affection.”

Cooking by the Book

Cookbooks seem to be the kudzu of the publishing industry. You find them everywhere. Kentucky cooks and organizations have produced a plethora of these printed guidebooks, and they continue to be churned out at a maddening pace. These books document both cultural and culinary trends, products, ingredients, and processes. In 1999 Jeffrey began processing a gift of over 3,000 cookbooks, most of which were printed in Kentucky and surrounding states. Find out what he discovered as he studied cookbooks ranging from The Kentucky Housewife (1839) to more recent publications on barbecue and tailgating. He examines the evolution of the cookbook genre as well as the gastronomic creations found in these popular works.

Dr. Pearlie  Johnson
Dr. Pearlie M. Johnson
Assistant Professor of Pan-African Studies and Art History
University of Louisville
Louisville, KY

Work Phone: (502) 852-0145
Home Phone: (502) 889-8894 (cell)
Email: pearlie.johnson@louisville.edu

African American Culture

Quilt Art: Examining the Narrative in Kentucky Quilts

As a result of oral history interviews with quilters across Kentucky, Dr. Johnson has gathered a small, yet powerful group of quilters whose work she discusses in her presentation. Her work explores women's history, storytelling, identity politics, and empowerment. Since the onset of Dr. Johnson's study of quilts in Kentucky, this presentation includes quilts made by women of all cultural groups. Her study is aimed at examining cross-cultural parallels in technique and assemblage, as well as revealing unique designs.

Aesthetic Traditions in West African Textiles

This talk explores African culture through examination of textile production and design. This includes Adinka (used in funerals and ceremonies), the Kente (royal cloths that express wisdom, bravery, and strength), which are made by the Fante, Asante, and Ewe cultures in Ghana. This presentation also examines Bogolanfini cloth made by the Bamana culture in Mali, Adire cloths of the Yoruba from Nigeria, and the Raffia cloths of the Kongo and Kuba cultures in the Democratic Republic of Kongo. This presentation also includes a short video clip on the textile production based on Dr. Johnson's research in Ghana.

James Klotter
James C. Klotter
Professor of History, Georgetown College, State Historian of Kentucky
Lexington, KY

Work Phone: (859) 277-4572
Email: fredak@aol.com

Kentucky History

Who Are We? A Profile of Present-Day Kentucky

Kentucky is many things, and citizens of the commonwealth sometimes do not fully know all the many facets of the present-day state. In this talk, the State Historian looks at what comprises the typical Kentuckian of today--gender, ethnic background, age, income, education, health, religion, political ties, sports affiliations,and more. Then the discussion will move into the less tangible aspects of Kentucky, including a sense of place, and conclude with a look at what the future may hold.

Equipment needs: Podium and projector for PowerPoint

Kentucky in World War II

As the number of surviving World War II veterans shrinks with each passing day, Klotter says we should pause to remember that momentous conflict and those who fought it. This talk looks at Kentuckians who fought abroad, those who did their part at home, and the price paid by both. Klotter will conclude with an intriguing look at post-war predictions of the future.

Patrick Lewis
Patrick A. Lewis
Director, Civil War Governors of Kentucky Digital Documentary Edition
Lexington, KY

Work Phone: 502-564-1792
Home Phone: 270-839-1691
Email: pat.a.lewis@gmail.com

Kentucky History

Ben and Helen Buckner: A Kentucky House Divided

Clark County sweethearts Ben Buckner and Helen Martin fought to keep their relationship together while supporting opposite sides during the Civil War. While Buckner led troops in the Union army, Martin hosted rebels in her parlor. Abraham Lincoln spoke of the United States as a “house divided,” but this Kentucky couple managed to stand united. The fascinating personal history of Ben and Helen’s courtship and marriage helps us explore broader histories that ask new questions about slavery, secession, loyalty, family, and forgiveness in Civil War Kentucky. Together, Ben and Helen teach us what values and ideals Unionists and Confederates shared in Civil War Kentucky as well as those that pushed them apart.

Four New Voices: Searching for an Untold Civil War Kentucky

A southern belle on a diplomatic adventure to combat rebel spies in Europe, a woman fleeing slavery and falsely convicted of murder in Louisville, a war widow whose cow was shot by enemy soldiers as she was milking it, a man who insists on his right to vote and calls into question the meaning of United States citizenship. These stories remind us that Civil War battles did not just happen on rolling hillsides under flying flags. All Kentuckians lived the Civil War in their everyday struggles to survive, overcome, and understand this most critical time in United States history. Why haven’t these Civil War stories been told? What new insights and new meanings can these individuals provide us about America’s most studied historical event?

George Ella Lyon
George Ella Lyon
Kentucky Poet Laureate
Lexington, KY

Work Phone: 859-699-9276
Home Phone: 859-278-3956
Email: ginalyon2001@yahoo.com


Mapping Your Memory House

Lyon will lead the audience through an exercise for writing from memories of a place you have lived and then read from Many-Storied House, her poetry collection that grew out of that exercise.

Equipment needs: White board or giant Post-It pad

Picture Book Magic

Lyon will explore the picture book as a distinct art form, lead the audience in an exercise for getting in touch with childhood experience, and trace the evolution of one picture book from journal entry to publication.

Equipment needs: Digital projector, screen and table

Becky Lee Meadows
Professor of English/Humanities at St. Catherine College
Carrollton, KY

Work Phone: (859) 336-5082 ext. 1250
Home Phone: (502) 741-6916
Email: bmeadows@sccky.edu


The Consciousness of Evil: Why We Should Watch Horror Movies

This talk focuses on our cultural consciousness of evil and relates those ideas of evil to evidence of that thought per Gothic and Horror literature, art, and film. Writers of Gothic and Horror subconsciously reflect their culture's ideas of evil, if and how we should fight evil, and what happens in a world where God is the Mythological Other or the ultimate force for the Good.

Equipment needs: Computer, projector and screen, preferred but not required

Bill McHugh
Bill McHugh
Lawrenceburg, KK

Work Phone: (270) 498-1966 (Cell)
Home Phone: (502) 859-2592
Email: wmchugh0001@kctcs.edu

Kentucky History

The Night Riders and the Black Patch Tobacco Wars

One of the most militant and violent uprisings in American history occurred in Kentucky. During the early 1900’s a conflict arose in western Kentucky about the monopolization of the tobacco industry by James Duke and the American Tobacco Company. The tobacco trust had complete control of the market and was purchasing tobacco from farmers for less money than it cost to produce. To confront the trust, tobacco farmers organized themselves in protest. When formal protests did not work, the farmers became militant and violence started to erupt all over the black patch region of western Kentucky. This vigilante group of farmers became known as the Night Riders. Their actions were so audacious, the Night Riders actually took over the town of Hopkinsville one evening burned all the tobacco warehouses there. The Night Riders leader was David Amoss. This presentation examines the events that occurred during the black patch tobacco war as well as comparing and contrasting the rise and fall of both James Duke and David Amoss.

Equipment Needs: Projector and screen

Cassius Clay: Emancipationist & Diplomat

Always controversial in his public life, Cassius Marcellus Clay was an emancipationist who lived in slave-holding Kentucky during the 19th century. Vocal in his support for the emancipation of slaves, Clay made many enemies and faced numerous assassination attempts throughout his life. While in Lexington, he was publisher and editor of an anti-slavery newspaper, The True American. He was forced to move to Cincinnati because of threats to his life. But Clay was more than an emancipationist, he also served as a captain in the Mexican War and later as a politician, appointed Minister to Russia by President Lincoln.

Equipment Needs: Projector and screen

Lisa Karen Miller
Lisa Karen Miller
Oral Historian, Master Gardner, Reference Librarian
Western Kentucky University
Alvaton, KY

Work Phone: 270-745-6122
Email: lisa.miller@wku.edu


The Folklore of Herbs

Take a walk through the herb gardens of history as we examine the folk beliefs of our ancestors regarding the healing powers of herbs. Some of them actually worked! Today’s science is bearing this out.

Equipment needs: Computer and projector with screen

Evelyn Thurman: An Extraordinary Life Remembered

Evelyn Thurman was a teacher, librarian, Laura Ingalls Wilder expert, world traveler, penny pincher, philanthropist, eccentric, and all-around extraordinary Kentucky woman. Come hear how she inspired students to be teachers and librarians, gave out cents-off coupons, saved everything, published books about Wilder, inspired a love of the Little House on the Prairie series in schoolchildren, walked her way around Bowling Green, made a 1959 Volkswagen last for decades (it still runs), and gave away hundreds of thousands of dollars to support education. Evelyn Thurman is an inspirational figure and a role model for our children and students.

Equipment needs: Computer and projector with screen; audio capability for PowerPoint

The Folklore of Flowers

Just as with herbs, mankind has devised myriad uses and misuses for flowers. We have been using flowers to learn about nature, heal illness, create beauty, and send "secret" messages to the objects of our affection. This stroll through history's flower garden will relate our long and varied relationship with nature's most colorful gifts.

Equipment needs: Computer and projector with screen

Natural Gardening: Using Items from the Pantry to Grow Better Food and Flowers

Why use poisons to kill pests when an item from your kitchen will do? Most of us have dozens of harmless household products that can be used as fertilizers and pesticides. Some of them are even more effective than costly and dangerous commercial preparations. Come and learn how to garden the natural way, without hurting Mother Earth. You will get valuable tonic recipes, get tips on companion planting, and learn how to attract beneficial bugs to your garden.

Maureen Morehead
Maureen Morehead
2011-2012 Kentucky Poet Laureate
Louisville, KY

Work Phone: (502) 592-8333 (cell)
Home Phone: (502) 244-3087
Email: maureen.morehead@gmail.com


Travel: Statewide

Bringing Poetry of Kentucky to Your Bookclubs

For a number of reasons, discussing poetry seems more intimidating than discussing fiction and nonfiction. We know how to break these genres down to talk about them. A good novel presents us with characters, settings, plots, and themes. We’re familiar with the creative nonfiction memoir, biography, autobiography, and personal essay. Both genres resemble the stories we’ve lived and continue to live daily. Their meanings, as the meanings of our lives, tell us about who and why we are what we are. The poem, however, while often having narrative elements, is made of other elements we might not have thought about since high school: rhythm, rhyme, form, figures of speech, symbols, point of view, tone, and “hidden” themes. The truth is that once we have a strategy for talking about poems, they can provide every bit as much enjoyment, insight, and comfort as the genres we’re more confortable reading and discussing. In this talk, I’ll use poems by Kentucky writers, such as Wendell Barry, George Ella Lyon, Frank X Walker, Davis McCombs, Kathleen Driskell, Lisa Williams (oh, so many good ones!!!) to demonstrate ways to generate lively and useful discussions about poetry.

When Poets Take a Stand

So often poets write lyrics poems with the purpose of using the heightened language of poetry to say what it means to be a human being. Often the lyric poem is in the voice of the poet who re-creates emotional experience, using his or her own life as subject matter. In shaping experience, the writer gives form and language to what is often ineffable. A good lyric poem offers insight.. It doesn’t, however, intend to teach or change minds.

I came to poetry through lyric poetry. And yet it seems to me there are times when it is particularly appropriate (whether anyone’s listening or not) for poets to step out of the personal realm and into the political. The political poet brings to the poem an arguable position about a controversial subject for the purpose of convincing the reader that that position is, at the very least, worth considering.

It’s not easy to write a good political poem. However, as Jay Parini contends in Why Poetry Matters, poets who don’t acknowledge what is going on in the world risk marginalizing themselves. Poetry that takes on, for example, abuses of power, restrictions on freedom, and unchecked violence is poetry that addresses what it means to be a citizen of the world with a personal stake in what happens in it.

In this lecture, I’ll talk about particular political poems, including those by Kentucky poets.

Tammy Horn Potter
Tammy Horn Potter
Kentucky State Apiarist, President Emeritus of Eastern Apiculture Society
Lexington, KY

Work Phone: 502-229-2950
Home Phone: 859-200-2207
Email: tammy.horn@ky,gov

Environment & History

Angels of Agriculture: Apiculture in 21st Century Kentucky

Kentucky used to support large-scale beekeeping in the 19th Century, but in the 20th Century, honey bees became the “stepchildren of agriculture.” While most of the 20th Century focused on major crop production to the neglect of pollinators, beekeepers suffered decades of historic losses of hives due to a variety of reasons. Even so, honey bees provide pollination for most of the fruits and vegetables and over 70 percent of wildflowers. Kentucky beekeepers in the 21st Century are having to position themselves to a new paradigm of agricultural chemicals, new planting patterns, and changing federal policies toward pollinators. Fortunately, honey bees are regaining their old status of “angels of agriculture,” but this period of transition is an important one to document. This presentation will look at the rapidly-changing position in which Kentucky beekeepers find themselves and outline steps in which Kentucky could once again support beekeepers at the commercial scale.

Equipment needs: Computer, projector and microphone

Women and Bees

Women beekeepers have been neglected for much of the world history of beekeeping. Yet, in the artwork and archival manuscripts, there are brief and fascinating glimpses of women apiarists as wax chandlers, queen producers, swarm catchers, and especially in Appalachia, as bee charmers. While some of the material is based on Horn’s travels around the world visiting contemporary beekeepers, this talk also includes archival research from Appalachian archives.

Equipment needs: Computer, projector and microphone

Eddie Price
Eddie Price
Kentucky Writer, Educator
Hawesville, KY

Work Phone: (270) 922-1326 (Cell)
Home Phone: (270) 927-0471
Email: eddieprice.1954@att.net

Kentucky History & Writing

The Cane Ridge Revival: The Great Revival that Transformed Kentucky

When people talk about the “Bible Belt” they might be interested to learn that its roots began in the great Cane Ridge Revival, held in today’s Bourbon County. No one can deny that it changed lives and shaped Kentucky’s (and the Deep South’s) social and cultural development. Take a journey back to 1801. Find out what drew 25,000 people to Cane Ridge. Sing one of the old hymns that some folks claimed to “make the flesh tremble.”

The Battle of Blue Licks

By 1782 the American Revolution was drawing to a close. Lord Cornwallis had surrendered at Yorktown and negotiators were hammering out the Peace of Paris. But war still raged for frontier settlers, American Indians, and Canadian rangers. On August 19, 1782, Kentuckians would suffer one of the worst military defeats of the war. Learn about the events leading up to the battle that some historians call “The Last Battle of the American Revolution.”

1812: Remember the Raisin!

Kentucky’s contribution in the War of 1812 was vital to the American War effort. This presentation shows how deeply Kentuckians were involved. The massacre at River Raisin gave rise to the battle cry of the war: “Remember the Raisin!” Governor Isaac Shelby left Frankfort to lead troops along the northern frontier and commanded victorious soldiers at the Battle of the Thames. Kentuckians answered the call once more to defend New Orleans. The epic battle on the sugarcane plantations below the city provided redemption for the young American nation.

Equipment needs: Computer and projector with screen

James Prichard
James M. Prichard
Filson Historical Society
Louisville, KY

Work Phone: 502-635-5083
Home Phone: 502-797-4306 (Cell)
Email: jamesmprichard@gmail.com

Kentucky History

Embattled Capital: Frankfort During the Civil War

While the clash at Perryville and the colorful raids of Gen. John Hunt Morgan dominate the annals of Kentucky Civil War history, Frankfort played a key role in the great conflict. The city was the only loyal capital to be occupied by Confederate troops during the war. Frankfort was also the only loyal capital to come under attack. When elements of Morgan’s cavalry raided the town in 1864, Gov. Thomas Bramlette, future Supreme Court Justice John M. Harlan and other officials shouldered muskets and fought beside the local militia. This talk sheds new light on the role of Kentucky’s capital, and its citizens, in the epic struggle.

Equipment needs: Podium

Banner in the Dust: Morgan’s Last Kentucky Raid

Following his dramatic escape from a Union prison, the dashing Gen. John Hunt Morgan led his men on what proved to be his last Kentucky raid in the summer of 1864. However, unlike his past exploits, Morgan’s Last Raid was a disaster. His track was marked by widespread pillaging and bank robberies which shocked many of his officers. At the battle of Cynthiana his command was defeated and scattered to the winds. He returned to his base with a shattered command and many officers demanding a formal investigation of the alleged robberies by the Confederate government. Based on new evidence, this talk reveals that Morgan’s once proud banner had already fallen before his tragic death in Greenville, Tennessee.

Equipment needs: Podium

Dr. David Profitt
Dr. David Profitt
Associate Professor of Philosophy, Big Sandy Community College
Prestonsburg, KY

Work Phone: (606) 889-4812
Home Phone: (606) 477-5637 (cell)
Email: david.profitt@kctcs.edu

Appalachian Culture

Religious Belief & Human Development in Appalachia

Defining Eastern Kentucky and the rest of central Appalachia has alternated between the "culture of poverty" model held over from the 1960s and the "unfortunate victims" model proposed by many environmental groups who decry the rape of resources in the area. Have either of these models, or the many others that have attempted to identify the historic struggles of this area, successfully captured the ethos of the region and the people of eastern Kentucky, and do they explain the seemingly intractable set of circumstances that define the area for the rest of the nation and the world? Through extensive research, Profitt challenges the culture of the poverty model of eastern Kentucky and suggests in its place a surprising alternative to the commonly held portrait defining eastern Kentuckians.

Travel: Regions 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Burnam Reynolds
Burnam Reynolds
Department of History
Asbury University
Wilmore, KY

Work Phone: (859) 858-3511 ext. 2187
Home Phone: (859) 321-6149
Email: burnam.reynolds@wku.edu


The Real Crusades and Today

Islamicists often cite the Crusades in their public statements, referencing them as an understood factor in their actions.
Yet one must wonder what the religious and military exploits of centuries ago have to do with our current world situation? Is the contemporary impact of these events based on historical misperception or facts? The era of the Crusades, from the eleventh through the thirteenth centuries, has been used by all involved in the Middle East to justify and explain modern disputes. Using the unfolding historical revolution in Crusade studies, Reynolds illustrates how and why the clash of these two cultures from so long ago is employed today

Equipment needs: Microphone and projector

Nancy Richey
Nancy Richey
Western Kentucky University
Bowling Green, KY

Work Phone: (270) 745-6092
Home Phone: (270) 784-1443
Email: nancy.richey@wku.edu

Kentucky History

Crowing Hens: Early Women Musicians

Women from rural Kentucky areas in the early 20th century, made inroads into the burgeoning music scene as it began to be known by more precise and diverse sets of designations such as "country," "blues," and "jazz." Through the development of the radio and recording technology, the music of these women rapidly became known throughout the nation. This talk focuses on the contributions of two early performers "Cousin Emmy," Cynthia May Carver and Linda Parker, "The Little Sunbonnet Girl."

Another World: History of Kentucky State Penitentiary

Seen through the eyes of inmates, and officials, this talk focuses on James Davis, a prisoner from Monroe County, who was accused of murder. The sights, sounds, and realities of early incarceration and the history of the institution in Frankfort are highlighted as well as the fate of James Davis and many like him.

Travel: Regions 2, 3, 4, 6

Anne Shelby
Anne Shelby
Kentucky Author
Oneida, KY

Home Phone: (606) 847-4792
Email: annegshelby@gmail.com

History & Storytelling

Henry Faulkner: Kentucky Artist

During his lifetime, Kentucky artist Henry Faulkner exhibited and sold his work in galleries around the country. Known for his colorful paintings, eccentric behaviors, and famous friends, the artist and poet was born in Simpson County, grew up in an orphanage in Louisville and a foster home in Eastern Kentucky, and lived more than 20 years in Lexington. This talk about Faulkner’s life and work includes images of the artist and his paintings, and footage from a documentary-in-progress, Understanding Henry.

Equipments needs: Screen and projection system for Powerpoint, Windows Live Moviemaker and DVD

Hearing Kentucky’s Voices

Anne Shelby is the author of ten published books, including poems (Appalachian Studies,) stories (The Adventures of Molly Whuppie and Other Appalachian Folktales,) newspaper columns (Can A Democrat Get into Heaven? Politics, Religion and Other Things You Ain’t Supposed to Talk About,) as well as award-winning books for children (Homeplace, The Man Who Lived in a Hollow Tree.) She is also a playwright and storyteller. In all genres, Shelby’s work grows out of Kentucky’s rich soil for writers. Her reading will feature works based on the voices of Kentuckians with something to say and their own unique way of saying it.

Equipment needs: Podium, table for displaying books

John Sparks
John Sparks
Kentucky Writer
Hagerhill, KY

Work Phone: (859) 235-3532
Home Phone: (606) 899.4785 (cell)
Email: jgsparks@wildblue.net

Kentucky History

Charles Chilton Moore: Kentucky's Village Atheist

Believe it or not, at one time the notorious atheist advocate Madalyn Murray O'Hair visited Kentucky to pay tribute to the memory of one of her most famous historic counterparts: Charles Chilton Moore of Fayette County. Moore's position as an "infidel" spokesman was made all the more controversial by the fact that he was not only an ex-preacher himself, but the grandson of a pioneer Kentucky minister and church founder, Barton Warren Stone. This presentation is an overview of Moore's life, his times, and his published "infidel" newspaper, The Blue Grass Blade. Whatever else may be said about Kentucky's own historic village atheist, he was never boring.

Equipment needs: Chair

Religion in the Mountains of Antebellum Kentucky

Overview of the various religious movements that swept through, and sometimes became native to, rural mountain Kentucky in the early years of the state's existence.

Equipment needs: Podium

Kary Stackelbeck
Kary Stackelbeck
Site Protection Program Coordinator
Kentucky Heritage Council
Frankfort, KY

Work Phone: (502) 564-7005 ext. 115
Home Phone: (859) 246-3940
Fax: (859) 576-0107 (Cell)
Email: kary.stackelbeck@ky.gov

History & Archaeology

Weeds, Dogs, Mounds, and Mastodons

Did you know that Kentucky was one of a handful of places around the world where select plants were independently domesticated and intentionally harvested? Or that some 5,000 years ago, people along the Green River thought so highly of their dogs that upon death, they buried some of them next to humans in specially-demarcated plots? Did you also know that some of the earliest documented mounds and earth-works of ancient North America are right here in Kentucky? Or that Thomas Jefferson commissioned an early exploration of what is now Big Bone Lick State Park? In this talk, Dr. Stackelbeck highlights these and other interesting points learned from Archaeology that should make every Kentuckian proud of the prehistory and early history in their own backyard.

Historic Cemetery Preservation in Kentucky: Does Sacred Space Ever Stop Being Sacred

Kentucky has thousands of historic cemeteries, from Louisville’s grandiose Cave Hill cemetery to small, simple family plots that dot the Commonwealth’s rural landscape. Each has a story to tell and holds the remains of loved ones — even if the markers have vanished or are no longer legible. The treatment of cemeteries and the burials they contain might seem obvious and without need of explanation, however, cemeteries have been and continue to be in danger from a wide variety of activities — neglect, development, agriculture, separation from descendants, and lack of sufficient preservation resources, among others. In this talk, Stackelbeck discusses some of the principal threats facing the Commonwealth’s many cemeteries, highlighting the differences in perspectives on spaces that are sacred to some and hindrances to progress for others. Without advocating for one perspective over another, she poses important questions for society to ponder as we consider the fate of Kentucky’s forgotten cemeteries.

Equipment needs: Microphone, screen, projector, and computer for PowerPoint

Sandra Staebell
Sandra Staebell
Kentucky Museum Registrar/Collections Curator at the Kentucky Museum
Western Kentucky University
Bowling Green, KY

Work Phone: (270) 745-6260
Home Phone: (270) 842-9631
Email: sandy.staebell@wku.edu

Popular Culture & Art

Faces & Places in Kentucky Quilts & Textiles

Quilts and other textiles frequently use images that are tied to memory and provide a sense of identity, family, or place. In some, these “faces” were based on real life individuals such as President George Washington, Kentuckians Henry Clay and George Rogers Clark and Robert Penn Warren while in others they were inspired by fictional characters such as Don Quixote or children real and or imagined. Examples of “places” found in textiles include state quilts, governmental buildings, churches, and honeymoon cottages.

Equipment needs: Podium, microphone, screen and computer for PowerPoint

Georgia Green Stamper
Georgia Green Stamper
Kentucky Writer, NPR Local Commentator
Lexington, KY

Work Phone: (859) 619-5700 (cell)
Home Phone: (859) 264-0465
Email: Georgia@georgiagreenstamper.com
Website: georgiagreenstamper.com


You Might as Well Laugh Mother Always Said

"Laughter," Stamper writed, "was my mother's tonic and psychiatrist — and her gift to me." Sometimes called a Kentucky version of Bailey White, Georgia's stories are every man's — told with a Bluegrass slant. In this entertaining presentation culled from her most popular public radio commentaries and newspaper columns, she discusses the unique role humor has played in shaping Kentuckians' culture and philosophy. The rural folk expression "you might as well laugh" became an intrinsic defense weapon in their battle to survive. A former theater teacher and award winning essayist, Georgia leads the audience from laughter to tears and back again.

Butter in the Morning: Extraordinary Ordinary Kentuckians

Georgia Green Stamper's essays often appear on the back page of Kentucky Humanities magazine. The author of two books (Butter in the Morning and You Can Go Anywhere), a local NPR commentator and newspaper columnist, she grew up in Wendell Berry country on her family's tobacco farm. In this presentation her understanding and appreciation of the region's character is on display, celebrating the ordinary Kentuckians who called her rural crossroads home. From farmers in bathrobes who taught her the true meaning of the Christmas story, to the Widow Rogers who freed her slaves and gave them both her blessing and wherewithal to immigrate to Liberia — Stamper's people are extraordinary. Like the frog that fell into the cream can but kept paddling, they come up sitting on a pad of butter in the morning.

Our Stories: Yours and Mine

"Kentuckians are great storytellers," Stamper says. "It may even be an inherited trait." Every family, every community, seems to have a stash of unique and treasured memories passed from one generation to the next. However, in a technology driven society that does not stop to sleep, much less to linger on the front porch telling stories, she worries that our oral heritage will soon be lost. She maintains that our local and personal stories play an essential role in binding family and community, and in defining who we are as a people. With humor and reflection, she shares tales of her place and kin, encouraging listeners to remember and preserve their own.

Rudy Thomas
Rudy Thomas
Upward Bound Director
Lindsey Wilson College
Columbia, KY

Work Phone: (270) 384-8059
Home Phone: (270) 634-7590
Email: thomasr@lindsey.edu


Socratic Review of Kentucky's Writers

Jim Wayne Miller often wrote and talked about Kentucky as a writerly state. While the decades before the Civil War have been called the Golden Age of American Literature, little could be said about the literary output of Kentucky in its infancy. The talk will utilize questions and audience answers rather than a straight lecture to explore the rise to prominence and greatness of Kentucky as a place of literary achievements. Question will center upon writers past and present; the careers of Kentucky writers; their backgrounds; their cultural patterns; and their abilities to feel comfortable living lives required to create works in all the regions of the Commonwealth. The audience will leave the event with a better understanding of just how Kentucky's writers have played a significant role as a writerly state and influenced the national literary scene.

So You Want to Publish

This event will best serve the author who has little or no publishing experiences in journals or has never published a book. As a successful poet, novelist, publisher, and editor, more insights will be shared than pie in the sky promises given.

Ernest Tucker
Ernest M. Tucker
Deptment of History
Ashland Community College
Ashland, KY

Home Phone: (606)928-8125
Email: ernie.tucker@kctcs.edu

Kentucky Folklore

Folk Medicine in Eastern Kentucky

Professor Tucker has interviewed thousands of eastern Kentuckians about how they treated themselves and their animals when they were sick or injured. This talk will include not only the remedies Tucker uncovered but the wonderful stories that accompany them..

The Kitchen: The Warmest Room in the House

From Tucker's extensive collections come these household devices that were supposed to lighten the loads of the average housewife. Used by our grandmothers and our great-grandmothers circa 1900-1940s, they seem quaint by today's standards and not as efficient as we once thought them to be. Electric appliances have replaced almost all of these devices, but they continue to fascinate people who are interested in the past.

Maryjean Wall
Maryjean Wall
Kentucky Author
Lexington, KY

Email: maryjeanwall@yahoo.com

Kentucky History & Horses

A Gallery of Rogues: Characters on (and under) the Turf

Racing historian and longtime horse racing writer Maryjean Wall recounts the tales of some of the most eccentric, daring, outrageous, and memorable persons who helped develop horse racing into a worldwide enterprise.

Madam Belle

Belle Brezing was directly connected to the rise of Kentucky's horse business in the 1890s and the early 1900s. The author's new book explores this relationship and Belle, of Lexington, as prototype of the fictional Belle Watling in Gone with the Wind.

Travel: Regions 5, 6, 7, 8

William Weston
William "Beau" Weston
Professor of Sociology, Centre College
Danville, KY

Home Phone: (859) 583-5173
Email: beau.weston@centre.edu


Happy Life, Happy Society

The world has improved in the modern age in nearly every respect we usually measure. The last two generations, in particular, have been a time of great strides forward on most fronts in most parts of the world. The world is richer, healthier, longer-lived, freer, more democratic, less violent, more equal, more tolerant, and happier. Even many of our problems are the problems of a rich world, such as obesity, diseases of old age, and climate problems from vastly increased energy availability. This presentation is about the many ways in which the world has gotten better, and the few in which it hasn't. An equally important part of the talk is why we are so inclined to resist believing the good news.

Stephen  Wrinn
Stephen M. Wrinn
Director, University Press of Kentucky
Lexington, KY

Work Phone: 859-257-8432
Home Phone: 859-421-1720
Email: smwrin2@uky.edu

History & Publishing

Publishing in the Commonwealth

Wrinn will discuss the history, impact, and continuing mission of the University Press of Kentucky. He will speak about the Press’s role in preserving the history of the state. He will also discuss important books and authors published during the history of the University Press of Kentucky. Wrinn will discuss the business of publishing and how editorial decisions are made. He will also provide aspiring authors with practical tips on how to get published.

My Travels with Tom

Wrinn’s first day as director of the University Press of Kentucky was April 1, 2002. He was promptly greeted at 8 a.m. by then 98-year-old Dr. Thomas D. Clark, Historian Laureate of Kentucky. Dr. Clark, the author of numerous books about Kentucky history and the founder of the University Press in 1943, proposed they drive around the state together. This was the beginning of a close four-year friendship. Wrinn and Dr. Clark traveled thousands of miles together, to every corner of the Commonwealth, and they had numerous conversations about the history, politics, geography, and culture of Kentucky. There were many amusing experiences during these trips. Clark’s love for Kentucky was infectious and played an enormous role in Wrinn’s leadership of the Press. Wrinn was with Dr. Clark up until his final days when they were working together on the publication of his memoirs, when Clark died two weeks shy of his 102nd birthday.

Aimee Zaring
Aimee Zaring
Kentucky Writer
Louisville, KY

Work Phone: 502-235-5771
Email: zaringaimee@gmail.com

Global Cuisine

Kentucky’s Global Table

Zaring will read from her book Flavors From Home: Refugees in Kentucky Share Their Stories and Comfort Foods and share insights from her two-and-a-half year journey visiting the kitchens of some of the refugees who’ve resettled in Kentucky over the last half-century. This presentation can be easily modified to the needs and interests of the host organization. Additional “pairings” to the above itinerary might include: hearing from one of the refugees featured in the book about his/her inspiring story of immigrating to the United States; sampling an ethnic dish or enjoying a short cooking demo of one of the 42 recipes from the book. Audience members will come away with a new understanding of how the act of “breaking bread” together can transcend language and other differences and remind us of the rich cultural heritage each of us brings to the table.

A Mini-Tour of Kentucky’s Global Landscape: Welcoming Our New Neighbors

In this presentation designed to enrich cultural awareness, Zaring will share insights based on her vast personal experience working with Kentucky’s refugee resettlement agencies, teaching ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages) to immigrants and refugees from more than 25 different countries, and visiting refugees’ homes during the writing of her book. The presentation will be tailored to the needs of the host organization but might include the following topics: information about refugee resettlement in Kentucky over the past half-century; the difference between a refugee and an immigrant; factors that often lead to refugees coming to America; some of the difficult challenges refugees and immigrants face after resettlement; common practices, native foods, and celebrations among different ethnic groups; how our growing multiethnic communities can help overcome cultural divides.

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