Speakers Roster


Constance Alexander
Constance Alexander
Kentucky Writer, Columnist
634 Robertson Road South
Murray, KY 42071

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.

Microphone and lectern required.

Who Needs June Cleaver?

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 addressed a range of topics — including cheerleaders, guns, assisted suicide and politics — but her most popular columns have been about growing up as the youngest child in a large family. Ms. Alexander’s presentation features readings from her award-winning columns and stories about family life in a small town in the 1950s and 60s.

Microphone and lectern required.

Connecting People & Places: Celebrating the Rich Cultural Heritage of Between the Rivers

When dams and bridges were built and the land between the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers in western Kentucky and Tennessee became Land Between the Lakes, the history and heritage of Between the Rivers communities was disrupted. Families that lived on land that had been handed down the generations since the end of the American Revolution were forced to move, leaving behind homes, businesses, schools and even churches. Constance Alexander conducted scores of oral history interviews with former residents of Between the Rivers and wrote and edited a documentary radio series based on the interviews. The presentation celebrates the cultural heritage of the people and communities, and focuses on the challenges overcome by the people displaced.

Microphone and CD player with speakers required.

Thomas Barnes
Thomas G. Barnes, Ph.D.
Extension Professor & Extension Wildlife Specialist
Department of Forestry
University of Kentucky
Lexington, KY 40546

Work Phone: (859) 257-8633
Email: tom.barnes@uky.edu

Wildlife & Environment

Wildflower Myths and Realities

Take a wonderful journey into the fascinating world of wild plants and see how man and plants have affected each other throughout history. There is a long and interesting history of plants and people dating back thousands of years and this program will glean some information on some of the wildflowers that are used for food or fiber, some that are used for medicine, some that have interesting stories behind their names. The program will answer questions like what is the most toxic plant in the forest? How did Little Gopher affect the name of the Indian paintbrush? Is ginseng really good for you? Outstanding photography will accompany the various stories, fables, and information presented.

Projection screen required.

Caring for Creation: Scriptures and Environmental Stewardship

Kentucky’s loss of 130 acres per day to development and global warming will alter the environment in ways we could never envision. Who is responsible for this assault on nature? Many believe that the Christian and Jewish religions, which preach man’s “dominion” over creation, deserve a large part of the blame. In fact, there is empirical evidence that supports this thesis, but what is often overlooked is that religion also holds the key to protecting nature. Learn what scripture really has to say about caring for God’s creation, including the unbridled natural beauty and diversity of Kentucky.

Projection screen required.

The History and Development of Creative Nature Photography

Take an interesting historical journey and learn how photography has evolved from a pinhole camera to modern digital cameras and how this has affected the field of photography, nature conservation, and art. View stunning images of iconic North American landscapes, flowers, and wild creatures. Travel along a journey of discovery learning about light, color, design, and composition as award-winning photographer Thomas Barnes takes you to Yellowstone, the Tetons, the beach, prairies, and other beautiful natural areas around the United States and Kentucky.

Projection screen required.

Wes Berry
Wes Berry
Kentucky Writer
2307 Richardsville Road
Bowling Green, KY 42101

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.

Spencer & Linda Brewer
15632 US 431 N
Central City, KY 42330

Work Phone: (270) 543-5326
Home Phone: (270) 754-9317
Email: dalin8509@att.net


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.

Stephen Brown
Stephen A. Brown
Kentucky Writer, Former Education Specialist
Abraham Lincoln Birthplace NHP
8009 Schroering Drive
Louisville, KY 40291

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.

Projection screen required.

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.

Projection screen required.

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.

Projection screen required.

Kathy Bullock
Kathy Bullock
Professor of Music, Berea College
1020 Moonlight Drive
Berea, KY 40403

Work Phone: (859) 986-6088
Email: bullockka@berea.edu

African American Music & Culture

African and African-American Musical Connections in Appalachia

In this talk/demonstration, Bullock explores the connections between African-American and Appalachian music. Beginning with the African musical heritage, she moves to the United States, revealing the origins of African American folk songs, spirituals, work songs, and blues and their substantial influence on Appalachian culture. Through stories and songs, she invites the audience to explore and participate in the exciting musical experiences shared by African- American and Appalachian cultures.

Piano or full-size keyboard required.

Singing in the Spirit: Roots of African American Sacred Music Tradition

Spirituals and gospel music are much more than pleasing songs to listen to — they are powerful representations of the triumphant spirit and faith that have defined African-American music and people. Bullock takes the audience on a musical journey from West Africa, through the middle passage, to the North American shores where the African-American culture was forged. Through songs, stories, and performance, this participatory program lets the audience experience the beauty, joy, and power of this music and culture.

Piano or full-size keyboard required.

Megan Burnett
Megan Burnett
Assistant Professor of Speech and Theatre, Alice Lloyd College
3309 Colonial Manor Circle #3B
Louisville, KY 40218

Work Phone: (606) 368-6050
Home Phone: (502) 299-7156
Email: meganburnett@alc.edu


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 Geddes Lloyd and June Buchanan started Caney Creek Community Center in the 1920s. This learning center 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, Stuart Robinson School, and Kingdom Come School. Many of these schools are still in existence, though some have a new mission. The women who led these efforts often spent their lives in these small, rural communities in Appalachia, dedicated to educating people in the mountains of Kentucky.

Microphone, lectern, projection screen, and Power Point projector required.

Mattie Griffith Browne — Kentucky Abolitionist

(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 and her family. Yet she freed the slaves she inherited. Browne is best known for her book, Autobiography of a Female Slave, printed in 1857, followed by Madge Vertner, published in serial form in the National Anti-Slavery Standard in 1859-60. Through her writing, Browne gives us an insight into the thoughts and fears of an enslaved woman. She took a great risk in writing a book that would provide sympathy for the enslaved Africans throughout the South and an even greater risk in freeing the slaves she inherited from her family. Browne was a single woman and poor for many years. She married late in life to a man who supported her abolitionist work and efforts. As a part of this talk Burnett will read short selections from her books.

Microphone, lectern, projection screen, and Power Point projector required.

Diane Calhoun-French
Diane M. Calhoun-French
Provost and Vice-President, Jefferson Community and Technical College
109 East Broadway
Louisville, KY 40202

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

Popular Culture

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!


Tea for Two

The ladies' tea party, which began in England in the 19th century, became among the most popular and highly ritualized social events of the 20th century. Come and hear about the origins of afternoon tea, its evolution as a ceremonial occasion, and its place in British and American culture.


Cristina Carbone
Cristina Carbone
Visiting Professor of Art History, University of Louisville
243 South Hite Avenue
Louisville, KY 40206

Home Phone: (502) 777-4783
Email: cmcarb01@louisville.edu

Popular History & Architecture

Travels of Lincoln's Log Cabin

In an inversion of the rules of tourism, Abraham Lincoln's birthplace log cabin traveled to America's great 19th century World's Fairs, where repeated showing of this "relic" established it as bona-fide. Millions came to World's Fairs, where they encountered the most modern inventions, peoples from exotic locales, and relics and recreations of historical architecture. Cabins lived in by Presidents Grant, Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt became staple attractions at World's Fairs, allowing Americans to encounter their own history, often for the first time. Whether Lincoln was born in this particular log cabin has been a point of contention since it was first displayed at the 1897 Nashville Centennial Exposition. Only after it was validated at the World's Fairs was it enshrined in the temple-like building at Hodgenville, Kentucky. This talk examines the history of one of Kentucky's greatest monuments.

Architectural Follies and Roadside Vernacular in Kentucky

Sleep in a wigwam or fill your prescriptions in a mortar and pestle. You can do both in Kentucky. Roadside vernacular architecture is a national phenomenon, where buildings serve as signage and "speak" to drive-by motorists. What began as an 18th century European vogue for architectural follies was taken up in the 19th century in this country as a commercial gambit when Lucy the Margate Elephant first lured prospective real estate purchasers from nearby Atlantic City. Roadside vernacular reached its zenith in the 1930s, when Elmer and Henry Nickie enticed motorists to fill up at their Airplane Filling Station in Knox County and Frank Redford patented his design for his Wigwam Villages, the first of which he built in Horse Cave, Kentucky. This talk explores the deep roots of this very American architectural craze.

James Claypool
James C. Claypool
Prof. Emeritus of History, Northern Ky University, Coeditor, Encyclopedia of Northern Kentucky
1004 Park Drive
Park Hills, KY 41011-1919

Home Phone: (859) 620-8846
Email: JimClaypool38@gmail.com

Cultural History

The Songs that Johnny Reb and Billy Yank Sang

This 50-minute program offers a lively presentation with recordings of some of the most popular songs from the North and South during the American Civil War. Claypool discusses the origins, importance, and placement in historical context of each song.

Lectern required.

The 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.

Lectern; electrical outlet; display table required.

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.

Lectern required.

Berry Craig
Berry Craig
Professor Emeritus, West Kentucky Community and Technical College
409 Highland Street
Mayfield, KY 42066

Work Phone: (270) 804-1017
Email: berry.craig@kctcs.edu

Politics & History

Andrew Jackson Smith

During the Civil War, Andrew Jackson Smith escaped slavery in Lyon County to fight for his freedom. His bravery in battle earned him the Medal of Honor, but not until 2001, more than 136 years after his act of “extraordinary valor in the face of deadly enemy fire.” Seventeen African Americans won the Medal of Honor for their participation in the Civil War. Smith was the only one from the Bluegrass State.

Lectern required.

True Tales of Kentucky in the War of 1812

As we observe the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, let us not forget the 200th anniversary of another war in which Kentucky played a pivotal role — the War of 1812. This talk features true tales from the war, including "the militia pig," "the Sportsman's Hill Scalp," "rumpsey dumpsey Johnson," and "the ballad of Ephraim Brank."

Lectern required.

Jerry Deaton
Jerry Deaton
Author and Filmmaker
2312 Pea Ridge Road
Frankfort, KY 41011

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

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.

Microphone required.

The Feuds of Bloody Breathitt: Kentucky's Untold Story

This talk is based on Mr. Deaton's feature length documentary, released in 2012, on the feuds in his home, Breathitt County. The presentation includes Deaton's personal stories of the feuding in Breathitt County and his family's involvement and will look at the people of modern day Breathitt County and how they responded to the film. The presentation will also include discussion of the writing, directing, and production process for creating a feature length film.

Microphone, DVD player, and screen required.

Aloma Dew
Aloma Williams Dew
Program Director, Kentucky Water Sentinels (Sierra Club)
2015 Griffith Place E.
Owensboro, KY 42301

Home Phone: (270) 685-2034
Email: AlomaDew@hotmail.com

Kentucky History & Environment

Kentucky's Water Topics of Out Time

This presentation will look at the importance of Kentucky's abundant water surface and underground and how that resource has shaped geology and fate of the Commonwealth. Kentucky has more miles of waterways than any state other than Alaska. Like some other natural resources, Kentucky is rich in water. How we use and protect this resource will shape our future as it has our past. Our water has been a source of economic development and growth and it is some of that very development that now threatens this irreplaceable resource. This talk looks at how the waters of the Commonwealth have shaped our history and what must be done to protect them for the future.

Yours for Liberty and Justice, Josephine K. Henry

Dew traces the career of Josephine Henry
dynamic speaker, prolific writer, and early strong voice for women's rights in Kentucky. She worked closely with better known leaders like Laura Clay for women's suffrage and property rights, and was the first woman to run for statewide office in Kentucky. Henry's outspoken views on religion, marriage, and divorce eventually caused a split between her and other women's leaders. She died in obscurity in 1928.

Women During the Civil War in Owensboro — One Town's Experience

This talk delves into the often ignored history of ordinary women during the Civil War. These women experienced illness, loss of loved ones, financial uncertainty, shortages, and the constant fear of guerrilla attack in the river town of Owensboro. Because Owensboro represented a microcosm of the divided border state, the experience of the women of that small town, black and white, is of interest to all Kentuckians. This presentation focuses primarily on Owensboro, but brings in some discussion from other areas, and will provide audiences with an opportunity to discuss and discover more about their own communities during the Civil War.

Ronald Elliott
Ronald Elliott
Kentucky Author
317 South Sixth Street
Bardstown, KY 40004

Work Phone: (502) 349-9480
Email: authoron@yahoo.com


What Really Happened at Pearl Harbor?

In the years since that “day of infamy” in 1941, no less than nine investigations have attempted to get at the facts determining how the Japanese managed to totally surprise the American Navy. Despite these studies, the attack still remains shrouded in mystery. One indisputable fact is that Henderson native Husband E. Kimmel was in command of the of the Pacific Fleet on that December morning and subsequently took the brunt of the blame. In this talk, Elliott follows Kimmel’s rise through the ranks in his outstanding naval career, presents some of the lesser-known aspects of the attack and highlights Admiral Kimmel’s side of the story.

Lectern, Power Point projector, and projection screen required.

James "Honest Dick" Tate

James "Honest Dick" Tate was first elected State Treasurer in 1867. During the next two decades, Tate was reelected every two years and earned his nickname "Honest Dick" for his apparent stewardship of the state's resources. All was not as it appeared. On March 14, 1888, he filled two large sacks with gold and silver and pocketed a large roll of bills from the state treasury. Leaving a note saying he'd be away for a few days, Tate disappeared, never to be seen again, taking most of the state's money with him. Elliott will explain how this theft was just the tip of the iceberg of Tate's perfidy and explore the ensuing turmoil in Kentucky politics.

Lectern, Power Point projector, and projection screen required.

Earle Bryan Combs: The Kentucky Gentleman

Most baseball aficionados would agree that the 1927 New York Yankees were the best team ever. The batting order, dubbed "Murderer's Row," included the legendary "Babe" Ruth and Lou Gehrig. Not as well known outside baseball circles, but equally important to the team's success was Owsley County native Earle Combs. Combs claimed the lead-off spot for his entire Hall of Fame career. Elliott will detail Combs' early life, his baseball career and his contributions to his native state and Eastern Kentucky University following his retirement from baseball.

Lectern, Power Point projector, and projection screen required.

Normandi Ellis
Normandi Ellis
Kentucky Writer
2367 Sullivan Lane
Frankfort, KY 40601

Home Phone: (859) 779-1131
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.

Microphone and lectern required.

From the Kentucky River and Down the Nile

Great rivers shape great cultures; and the stories of those places and times shape our lives, too. Normandi Ellis has spent half of her life studying the great civilization of ancient Egypt, its mythologies, its mysteries and its people. She finds similar tales arising from both the Biblical Great Flood and The Great Flood of 1937. She uses personal experience of her 30 years of travel to Egypt and a lifetime spent in Kentucky to explore the birthplace of civilization and how we think about "Home".

Microphone and lectern required.

John Ferré
John P. Ferré
Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Communications
Department of Communication
University of Louisville
Louisville, KY 40292

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.

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.

Lectern, microphone and projector required.

Steve Flairty
Steve Flairty
Retired Teacher
3475 Lyon Drive #62
Lexington, KY 40513

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

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.

Microphone and lectern required.

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.

Microphone and lectern required.

Terry Foody
Terry Foody
Certified Clinical Research Coordinator
University of Kentucky
2054 Clays Mill Road
Lexngton, KY 40503

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.

Microphone, projection screen and Power Point projector required.

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.

Microphone and projection screen required.

Bob Fortunato
Bob Fortunato
2501 East Highway 42
LaGrange, KY 40031

Home Phone: (502) 222-3069
Email: geniefor@bellsouth.net


Baseball: America’s and Kentucky’s Game

Baseball evolved out of the English games of cricket, rounders, and several American versions like the New York game. From 1876 to present there have been approximately 300 Kentucky-born Major League baseball players. Earle Combs was born in Pebworth, Kentucky, in 1899, and played baseball at Eastern Kentucky State Normal School. He is one of four Kentucky-born members of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Combs played his entire career for the New York Yankees (1924-1935). Combs batted leadoff and played center field on the fabled 1927 Yankees team, often referred to as “Murderers Row.” Nicknamed the “Kentucky Colonel,” Babe Ruth said Combs was more than a good ball player, he was always a first-class gentleman. There are many more players, teams, and of course, the Louisville Slugger baseball bats that make Kentucky part of baseball history.

Microphone and lectern required.

A Confederate Veteran’s Life After the War

In the wake of America’s Civil War, more than 40,000 Kentucky men who had worn the gray returned to the bluegrass. Most returned home to quiet, productive lives, but some were unable to cope with the postwar life. There was no institutional support, no pension, and no veteran’s benefits. By the 1880s, disabled Confederates grew more visible on the streets of Louisville, Frankfort, and Lexington. Some ended up in publicly funded almhouses, poor farms, or asylums typical of the time. The Confederate Home in Peewee Valley opened in 1902 to provide a respectable retirement home for Confederate Veterans. This talk describes a Confederate Veteran’s final years of life at the home in Peewee Valley.

Microphone and lectern required.

Daryl Harris
Daryl L. Harris
Associate Professor Department of Theatre & Dance, Northern Kentucky University
FA 205 Nunn Dr.
Highland Heights, KY 41099

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

African-American Culture & History

Hail to the Red, White & Black: A Look at "the Colored Troops" of the Civil War

This talk looks at the roles of African-American soldiers during the American Civil War. Oddly enough, these soldiers fought on both sides of the conflict. This talk focuses particularly on Kentucky’s Camp Nelson where, according to some figures, more than 10,000 African-American soldiers were encamped (including the recently reactivated 12th U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery) making it the third largest recruiting and training depot for African Americans in the nation.

Lectern, projection screen, and DVD player required.

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 fascinatingly 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.”

Lectern and microphone required.

Lift Evr'y Voice and Sing
For African Americans throughout Kentucky and the country, spirituals were the soundtracks upon which the Underground Railroad movement rolled. Freedom songs later helped pave the way toward true liberation. Because of its particular
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.

Lectern and microphone required.

Someone's in the Kitchen with "Dinah"

Encouraged by the recent popularity of both the novel and the film The Help, in this revived talk inspired by John Fox Jr.'s account of "his" Aunt Dinah, whose divine cooking could "shatter the fast of a pope," Harris revisits his exploration of the contributions of African-American women to the traditions of Southern culinary excellence. He surveys the legacy and subsequent empowerment of "those turbaned mistresses of the Southern kitchen."

Lectern and microphone required.

John Harrod
John Harrod
1860 Kays Branch Road
Owenton, KY 40359

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 John 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, John 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.

Lectern and microphone required.

Kentucky Women in Traditional Music

While it may have taken women some time to break into the male-dominated 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 and phonograph records. Musician and scholar John Harrod, who knew and recorded some of these pioneering performers, plays disc jockey with field and commercial recording 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.

Lectern, microphone, DVD player, and projector required.

J. Larry Hood
J. Larry Hood
188 Timberlane Court
Nicholasville, KY 40356

Home Phone: (859) 223-9825
Email: jhood188@windstream.net

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.

Lectern required.

American Politics in Borderland Kentucky

This talk considers how Kentucky has affected and has been affected by the course of American politics. It will consider Kentucky's role in determining the meaning of federalism and states' rights (especially in the Civil War), governmental relief of economic distress and debt, the desire for equal justice for all Americans, and making the world safer for democratic/republican government. It will present all this within the framework of Kentuckians' Judeo-Christian understanding of the tragic nature of man.

Lectern required.

Tammy Horn
Tammy Horn
Apiculturist & Director of Coal County Beeworks Eastern Kentucky University
521 Lancaster Avenue
BTC 144
Richmond, KY 40504

Work Phone: (859) 622-2334
Home Phone: (859) 200-2207
Email: tammy.horn@eku.edu

Environment & History

Apiforestation: Hives, History, and Honey Corridors in Kentucky

The United States loses one in three hives every year, with losses from 2012 averaging nearly forty percent. Based on ongoing work with surface mine companies, Tammy Horn will talk about the new EPA standards impacting pollinators and mining, the importance of establishing three-season bloom habitats, and creating honey corridors. Horn will also discuss the progress and challenges of reestablishing a beekeeping infrastructure in Eastern Kentucky. Christian Sprengel once said that every country should have standing armies of bees, and this presentation shows the rewards and difficulties of such a goal.

Projection screen and Power Point projector required.

Women's Work: Bees, War, and Factory Life

Dr. Tammy Horn, author of Beeconomy: What Women and Bees Can Teach Us about Local Trade and Global Markets, discusses the life of Jane Cole, an unheralded worker in a bee factory during the early years of bee industrialization. Jane divorced her Civil War vet husband and supported herself by diversifying her skills associated with making wax foundation, to crafting the cylinders for honey extractors, to binding books and magazines. These skills also led her to become an artist as well as coping with her husband's post-traumatic stress, their divorce, and discrimination. Horn uses Cole as a case study in her larger study of women's continual and global struggle in an economy that often pays women less than men, they live longer than men, and yet provide more care to the younger and older generations.

Projection screen and Power Point projector required.

Jonathan Jeffrey
Jonathan Jeffrey
110 Riverwood
Bowling Green, KY 42103

Work Phone: (270) 745-5265 (Work)
Home Phone: (270) 781-2873 (Home)
Email: jonathan.jeffrey@wku.edu

History & Culture

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.”

Lectern and projection screen required.

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.

Lectern and projection screen required.

Dr. Pearlie  Johnson
Dr. Pearlie M. Johnson
Assistant Professor of Pan-African Studies and Art History
University of Louisville
432 Strickler Hall
Louisville, KY 40292

Work Phone: (502) 852-0145
Home Phone: (502) 852-0446
Email: pmjohn06@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.

Lectern, microphone, Power Point projector, and projection screen required.

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.

Lectern, microphone, Power Point projector, and projection screen required.

James Klotter
James C. Klotter
Professor of History, Georgetown College, State Historian of Kentucky
1087 The Lane
Lexington, KY 40504

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

Kentucky History

Kentucky History Mysteries & Myths

Do myths about Kentucky still lurk out there? In this talk, Klotter examines some of the historical "truths" many people think are correct, and looks at the origins and accuracy of such stories. Among the subjects viewed under the historical microscope are Native-Americans, slavery, the Civil War, Appalachia, literature and politics.

Lectern and microphone required.

A Power Trio: Henry Clay, Mary Todd, and Honest Abe
Lincoln called Clay his beau ideal of a statesman. What influence did Clay have on Lincoln? How were the two men similar and how were they different? And what role did Mary Todd play in both men’s lives? Klotter will focus on this power trio’s personalities while emphasizing their Kentucky connections.

Lectern and microphone required.

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.

Lectern and microphone required.

Dr. Lynwood Montell
Dr. Lynwood Montell
Kentucky Writer, Emeritus Professor of Folk Studies Western Kentucky University
1853 Cobblestone Court
Bowling Green, KY 42103

Work Phone: (270) 796-1907
Email: LLMontell@insightbb.com

History & Folklore

One-Room School Days

Stories told by former teachers about the one-room school era are truly insightful and relative to life and times prior to television — and even after, in many instances. Teachers and students walked along dirt or muddy roads, crossed creek beds or rode horses or mules to reach the secluded areas that were home to one-room schoolhouses. In this talk, Montell relays the stories he collected, which describe school-day events, teacher-student relationships, students’ personal relationships, lunch-time foods and activities, stories about other teachers, and the importance of one-room schools as viewed by their teachers.

Lectern and microphone required.

Ghost Stories from the 1930s

Ghost stories included in this presentation were gathered throughout Kentucky by employees of the Federal Writer’s Project during the years 1935-1943. Persons who obtained the stories were former school teachers, factory workers, artists, musicians, etc. who had lost their jobs during the Great Depression era but were receiving monetary support from the U.S. Government for services performed. Archival stories included in this presentation are truly informative and interesting.

Lectern and microphone required.

Preserving Family and Community Heritage

Dr. Montell loves to write about life and times of local people due to the fact virtually all persons interested in tracing their family roots may obtain ancestral names from formal documentary records but which typically contain little or nothing about ancestral daily lives, economic well-being, and social activities. As a boy Dr. Montell heard stories about deceased family and community members, and later, as a professor, stories told by persons who shared personal memories for inclusion in his numerous books. Adult members of the audience will be encouraged to write down ancestral/parent stories as told to them so their children and grandchildren will learn much about their ancestors and by-gone years.

Lectern and microphone required.

Nora Moosnick
Nora "Rosie" Moosnick
Kentucky Writer
274 South Hanover Avenue
Lexington, KY 40502

Home Phone: (859) 338-4065
Email: moosnick@insightbb.com

Culture, Religion & Identity

Arab and Jewish Women in Kentucky

Based on her book, Arab and Jewish Women in Kentucky: Stories of Accommodation and Audacity, this talk will focus on Arab and Jewish families, some of whom peddle their way through Kentucky communities to establish themselves in the new world. Unlike previously told stories of the southern Jewish peddler, this talk will center on women and their role in family businesses. It will also highlight parallels between the lives of Jews and Arabs in Kentucky, a place where their presence is often overlooked. Moosnick will use oral histories to tell the stories of ten Arab and Jewish women whose families currently or at one time had stores in Kentucky. She will share the stories of Jews and Christian Arabs who are long-time residents and compare them with those of Muslim women relatively new to the state. The accounts in Arab and Jewish Women in Kentucky and this talk offer an opportunity to explore how cultures interconnect in unexpected places.

Power Point projector and screen required.

Confronting Stereotypes of Arabs and Jews

Strong images come to mind when thinking about Arabs and Jews and their religions, ethnicities, and lands. Arabs, in particular, are in the public eye and thought to be "foreign" and Muslim, an attitude that neglects the many Arabs who may be Christian or secular and not foreign at all. A similar homogenization might apply to Jews as well insofar as Americans understand them in relation to the Holocaust or Israel. Irrespective of how Jews and Arabs are viewed separately, they are inevitably construed as opposing forces engaged in a conflict of global and biblical proportions. It also ignores the fact that a person can be both Jewish and Arab. This talk is based on the book Arab and Jewish Women in Kentucky: Stories of Accommodation and Audacity and discusses the stereotypes confronting Arabs and Jews in the U.S., more broadly and specifically those in Kentucky, recognizing that Arabs and Jews can stereotype each other and be stereotyped by non-Arabs and non-Jews.

Power Point projector and screen required.

Maureen Morehead
Maureen Morehead
2011-2012 Kentucky Poet Laureate
17015 Camberwell Court
Louisville, KY 40245

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


Travel Regions: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

From Our Brothers' War: The Martha Buford Jones Poems

In 1987, having finished a manuscript of personal lyric poems in a voice close to her own, Maureen Morehead wanted to do something different. An option for her, because of her interest in how the lyric and narrative intersect, is the persona poem. The voice in a persona poem is imagined; it is a character created by the poet to say the poem. Margaret Atwood's collection The Journals of Susannah Moody, suggested to her that she might use historical documents to discover actual people upon which to base her characters. To that end, she looked at Louisville's Filson Club's collection of Kentucky manuscripts, among which she found the recently-acquired papers of the Willis Field Jones' family from Versailles, Kentucky, including the 1860-1864 diaries of Martha Buford Jones, Willis' wife. These diaries, according to archival records, "record weather, health of family and friends, family and social life, farm operations, the treatment of slaves, horse racing, the Civil War, and her separation from her husband." In this talk, she will discuss how she transformed Martha's diary entries into poems, what the diaries taught her about the Civil War in Kentucky, and what a revisiting of the Filson Club, the diaries, and her poems have contributed to this story.

Introduction to the Poetry of Thomas Merton

In 1941, when Thomas Merton entered the Abbey of Gethsemani, a Trappist Monastery in Kentucky, monks were allowed to write two half-page letters four times a year. At the time of his death in 1968, Merton had become one of the most prolific writers of the twentieth century, publishing poetry, religious writings, autobiography, essays, reviews, and photography. At his death, he left 800,000 words of unpublished personal writings, letters and journals, and tape recordings of talks he had given, which have since been transcribed, edited, and released. What we know about Merton is that his life was a paradox: he was a man who loved the silence afforded a monk, yet needed the political platform of a social activist. So he wrote about the beauty of the world, the individual’s search for meaning, the unity of creation, silence and contemplation; and he wrote about the atrocities of the modern world: the nuclear bomb, Hitler’s death camps, protest against the Vietnam War, and frustration over his country’s racism. This lecture will take a close look at Merton’s poems written from both the contemplative and the activist sides of his nature. For Merton these two poles, which became inseparable, were each vital for salvation.

Dr. Isabel Mukonyora
Dr. Isabel Mukonyora
Philosophy and Religion Department
Western Kentucky University
1906 College Heights Boulevard
Bowling Green, KT 42101

Home Phone: (270) 745-5754
Email: bella.mukonyora@wku.edu

Religion & Culture

God of Nature: The Revival of Environmentalism in 21st Century Christianity

This talk will look at three ancient stories about Earth that explain prevalent attitudes toward nature. Dr. Mukonyora will first offer a critique of the story that Earth was chaotic matter before things were given form and an order that supports life (Plato’s Timean Worldview.) In the second version, Mukonyora will identify a story from the many goddess traditions from the ancient past to show the extent to which Earth was also understood in biological terms, capable of giving life. Finally, she will use the story of Genesis to pinpoint the basis for an argument that Earth is doomed due to human folly. Dr. Mukonyora will end with a conversation about how new stories about the environment, as told by local communities, promote their understanding of life on Earth.

Microphone, projection screen, Power Point projector, and DVD player required.

Religious Pluralism & Global Christianity

This talk will draw upon two books by the same famous historian, Philip Jenkins, to address the shift in focus from questions about Christianity that Kentuckians might typically associate with the Judaic-Christian Bible in America to others about religion in changing cultures where Christianity has traveled since the 19th century. Short video clips on the interpretation of Jesus in Africa, Asia, and Latin America will be used to create a conversation with the audience.

Microphone, projection screen, Power Point projector, and DVD player required.

Robert Prather
Robert A. Prather
Kentucky Writer
375 Bunger Road
Ekron, KY 40117

Home Phone: (270) 735-5195
Email: rprather@bbtel.com


The Discovery of Swift's Silver Mine

Several years before Kentucky became a state, fervid stories of great treasure concealed somewhere in its vast wilderness were spreading like wildfire. The account of Jonathan Swift, his band of pirates and a reputed cave of treasure is one of the great legends of United States history. Although the legend in known throughout regions of seven states, precious little has been revealed regarding the life of the enigmatic Swift. Legend states that he and his mining associates had attained great wealth through piracy and mining precious metals. Tradition also alleges that he was from Alexandria, Virginia, and that he owned shares in a number of merchant ships. What is the true identity of the mysterious swashbuckler? More importantly, was the legendary treasure real?

Projector, projection screen, and microphone required.

Robert Louis Stevenson and a Kentucky Treasure The Origins of "Treasure Island"

A real Long John Silver" Could this most famous of fictional pirates be actually based on the life of a real man? And could that man be one Jonathan Swift of Alexandria, Virginia, an enigmatic merchant whose legendary silver mines have enticed and eluded treasure hunters for over two centuries? This provocative look into a fascinating segment of literary and American history will ready even the most casual in attendance to set sail for plunder and riches.

Projector, projection screen, and microphone required.

Eddie Price
Eddie Price
Kentucky Writer, Educator
175 Windsong Drive
Hawesville, KY 42348

Work Phone: 270.922.1326 (Cell)
Home Phone: 270.927.0471 (Home)
Email: eddieprice.1954@att.net

Kentucky History & Writing

A Kentuckian's Long Hard Road to Publication and the Harder Road Beyond

Kentucky author Eddie Price fulfilled a lifelong dream when his historical fiction novel, Widder's Landing, was published in September 2012. After five years of travel, interviews, research, writing, and editing, he discovered the real work lay ahead of him. Price tells how he constructed the all-important query letter, approached New York literary agents and publishers, designed a marketing plan, and managed to land the right publisher. This presentation includes: developing a Kentucky theme, creating characters that convey the theme, establishing an early 1800s Kentucky "voice," research and refinement, and persisting in a business that is rapidly changing and becoming more challenging for new writers. His novel, Widder's Landing has defied the odds, and he will share his experiences in an engaging talk that encourages audience participation.

Microphone, projection screen and Power Point projector required.

1812: Remember the Raisin!

"Frenchtown, Ft. Meigs, Mississinewa, the Battle of Lake Erie, the River Thames, New Orleans..." Kentucky's contribution in the War of 1812 was vital to the American War effort. This presentation shows how deeply Kentuckians were involved economically, politically, militarily, and emotionally. 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. After all they had sacrificed, 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 and for a state seeking to shed its pioneer image to become one of the more influential states in the union.

Microphone, projection screen and Power Point projector required.

Marianne Ramsey
Marianne P. Ramsey
Professor Emeritus Eastern Kentucky University
Consultant, Clifton Anderson Art & Antiques
Lexington, KY

Home Phone: (859) 489-4664
Email: marianne@cliftonandersonantiques.com

Culture & Craft

Chairs to Sugar Chests: Furniture in Early Kentucky Households

This is an introduction to early Kentucky furniture illustrating the range of forms used in households from seating furniture to storage and a discussion of the influences on furniture design. The presentation will address styles and forms, an overview of craftsmen working in Kentucky, where they were from, their early training and how they contributed to the transmission of styles. Consumer preferences and tastes and the concept of regionalism in furniture design will also be included in this visual presentation.

Lectern, microphone, Power Point projector, and projection screen required.

Early Kentucky Furniture & the Artistry of Inlaid Decoration

In 1949, at the prestigious Colonial Williamsburg Antique Forum, a prominent scholar claimed: “little of artistic merit was made south of Baltimore.” A Kentuckian in the audience that day inquired of the speaker, then curator for the American Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, whether he had spoken from “prejudice or ignorance.” Their exchange challenged widely held notions that Southern decorative arts lacked the aesthetic qualities of objects produced elsewhere in the country. This lecture will dispute inaccurate perceptions regarding the artistry of Kentucky furniture by presenting a visual survey of stunningly beautiful, inlaid furniture produced during the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

Lectern, microphone, Power Point projector, and projection screen required.

Hugh Ridenour
Hugh Ridenour
Historian and Author
1715 Stagecoach Road
Hanson, KY 42413

Home Phone: (270) 825-1533
Email: treetops@spis.net

History & Culture

Reluctant World War II Hero and the Elusive Medal of Honor

Garlin M. Conner, one of Kentucky’s most decorated World War II soldiers, perhaps the most decorated, failed to receive the Medal of Honor. This talk will reveal the details of the heroic soldier’s exploits, praise from his commanders, and the story of efforts to posthumously award him the nation’s highest honor and thereby rectify and obvious oversight.

A Confederate Surgeon’s Tale: Life and Death in the Orphan Brigade

As a surgeon for various regiments of the famous Orphan Brigade and John Morgan’s partisans, Kentucky native John Orlando Scott practiced his trade at numerous Civil War battles, including Shiloh. Ridenour will display Scott’s personal scrapbooks, from which this presentation is taken.

From Pantry to Table: History, Recipes, and Other Gifts

Hear the saga of the Green family dynasty of Falls of Rough and share Kentucky’s culinary past through an heirloom recipe collection rescued from the pantry of the Greens’ 1839 mansion. Carolyn Ridenour joins her husband for this journey into a bygone time when food preparation required perseverance and talent and setting a fine table was a social necessity. Green family dining items will be displayed.

Albert Schmid
Albert Schmid
Kentucky Author, Professor and Chair, Hotel-Restaurant, Hospitality and Beverage Management Depts.
Sullivan University
P.O. Box 34331
Louisville, KY 40232

Work Phone: (502) 938-2560
Email: albertspeaks@live.com

Culture & Cuisine

Creating Food Memories

Everyone has a memory of food from their past, some good and some bad. The good memories stand out and create a lifetime reference point, from which all future similar experiences are judged. What if you could create such a memory for your children and grandchildren? Albert Schmid will discuss ways that you can create food memories for the people you love that will last a lifetime.

Kentucky's Cocktail Heritage

Kentucky is a unique place when it comes to cocktails. Albert Schmid will discuss the development of cocktails that are linked to Kentucky and place some of the cocktails in historical perspective. In addition, he will define a cocktail and how it differs from a julep or a toddy. His talk will explore the bourbon industry and why it is so important to Kentucky.

Kentucky's Food Heritage

Kentucky has a unique culinary tradition. Schmid will discuss the development of Kentucky cuisine and will place some of the dishes in historical perspective. In addition, Schmid will define the culinary tourist as well as the concepts related to culinary and gastronomic tourism. His talk will explore as well the industries that create tourism and expenditures by tourists. Schmid will also touch on culinary dishes that are considered authentic in the Bluegrass State and discuss the development of culinary tourism.

Anne Shelby
Anne Shelby
Kentucky Author
15705 North Highway 11
Oneida, KY 40972

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


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 was 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.

Lectern, microphone, Power Point projector, and projection screen required.

Aunt Molly Jackson: Pistol Packin’ Woman

In the 1930s, Aunt Molly Jackson (1880-1960) was arguably the most famous Kentuckian in the country. Known as the “Coal Miner’s Wife” and the “Pistol Packin’ Woman,” she became a national spokesperson for striking Kentucky miners and their families, singing her songs and telling her stories in New York and around the country. This presentation describes Aunt Molly’s years in Kentucky coal camps as midwife, folk musician, and union activist, her move to New York (at the request of Theodore Dreiser,) and her later fall into obscurity. This presentation includes songs and quotations from this fascinating and important Kentuckian.

Lectern, microphone, Power Point projector, and projection screen required.

Humans are Storytelling Animals

Recent scientific research seems to bear out what we have suspected all along, that human beings are storytelling animals. We need stories. Indeed, our brains may have evolved around them. In this combination lecture and storytelling performance, Anne Shelby talks about stories: their functions, their universality, their differences from culture to culture and from telling to telling. After summarizing her research into Appalachian and world folktales, Shelby will tell a story from her own collection, The Adventures of Molly Whuppie and Other Appalachian Folktales.

Lectern and microphone required.

Allen Share
Allen J. Share
Distinquished Teacher and Professor, Division of Humanities
University of Louisville
303 Bingham Humanities Building
Louisville, KY 40292

Work Phone: (502) 852-6427
Email: allen.share@louisville.edu


The Chautauqua Movement and the Quest for Self-Improvement in America

The Kentucky Humanities Council's Kentucky Chautauqua program derives its name from the movement which one historian proclaimed "the most significant venture in popular education in the United States" and which Theodore Roosevelt was reported to have called "the most American thing in America." This talk will focus on the origins, dimensions, impact, and legacy of this vital cultural endeavor.

Lectern and microphone required,

The Battle of New Orleans, Andrew Jackson, and "Hunters of Kentucky"

What became "one of America's most popular songs" proclaimed: "But Jackson he was wide awake, And was not scar'd at trifled, For well he knew what aim we take With our Kentucky rifles." This talk will examine the song "The Hunters of Kentucky," adapted by Noah Ludlow from a poem by Samuel Woodsworth celebrating Andrew Jackson's victory in the Battle of New Orleans, in the context of popular thought and culture as well as myth and legend.

Lectern and microphone required.

The Civilian Conservation Corps on Kentucky

What was arguably the New Deal's most popular program employed almost 90,000 young men in Kentucky who built bridges, trails, and fire towers, planted trees, implemented soil conservation techniques, constructed a magnificent system of state parks, and left a lasting legacy on the landscape from one end of the Commonwealth to the other. This talk will focus on the people as well as the programs of this vital New Deal agency.

"To Bind Up the Nation's Wounds:" Abraham Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address

One Lincoln scholar concluded that on March 4, 1865, "at this most eloquent moment of his career," President Abraham Lincoln delivered a speech that "is revered by freedom lovers everywhere" and which vies with Gettysburg Address as his greatest oration. This talk will explore the ideas, implications, and meaning of Lincoln's last major address.

Lectern and microphone required.

Gerald Smith
Gerald L. Smith
Kentucky Author, Associate Professor of History, University of Kentucky
Department of History
1773 Patterson Office Tower
Lexington, KY 40506

Work Phone: (859) 257-1357
Email: glsmit01@uky.edu

Civil Rights & Kentucky History

Race and Sports in Kentucky

This presentation examines the history of the black athlete in Kentucky. It highlights the players, coaches, and schools significant to the states' rich sports history before and after desegregation.

Lectern, microphone, Power Point projector, and projection screen required.

Black Protest in the Bluegrass: The Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky

Dr. Gerald Smith will examine the struggle for black equality in the state during the 20th century. He reviews the issues, events, strategies, and leaders instrumental in breaking down racial barriers in Kentucky.

Lectern, microphone, Power Point projector, and projection screen required.

Frederick Smock
Frederick Smock
Chair, English Department; Director, Creative Writing Program, Bellarmine University
2001 Newburg Road
Louisville, KY 40205

Work Phone: (502) 272-8091
Email: fsmock@bellarmine.edu


Travel Regions: 3, 6

The Poetry of Thomas Merton

The Trappist monk Thomas Merton was a most prolific writer, but not many people know of his poems. Professor Smock, the author of Pax Intrantibus: A Meditation on the Poetry of Thomas Merton, reads a few selected poems and speaks about how they are informed by Merton's faith, and by his political and environmental activism. Along the way Professor Smock relates a few of the more amusing anecdotes about Merton.

Lectern and microphone.

Poetry Reading

Frederick Smock's new book of poems, The Bounteous World, is a full-length collection of poems that reference the natural world and its beauties complexities, and surprises. The New Yorker called them "spare and wise poems." Jane Gentry Vance wrote, "Each poem in this book creates a blaze of clarity." Professor Smock reads his poems and relates stories about them in an entertaining an enlightening mix.

Lectern and microphone.

Bianca Spriggs
Bianca Spriggs
Research Assistant, University of Kentucky, Creator and Creative Writing Facilitator
4835 West Maxwell Street
Lexington, KY 40508

Email: biancaspriggs@gmail.com
Website: www.biancaspriggs.com

African American History & Culture

The Thirteen

"The Thirteen," is a multimedia narrative which plays homage to thirteen black women and girls who were lynched or otherwise violently murdered throughout Kentucky during the late 19-early 20th centuries. This period is known as the nadir which began during Reconstruction, a time where racism was at its apex in America as black people were slowly being granted voting and legal rights. Despite the presence of the Freedman's Bureau throughout the state of Kentucky, the socio-political leanings mixed with economic agendas and the presence of the KKK, resulted in a high number of cases of violence against blacks. But in January 2013, through a showcase of original poetry, film, photography, music, and visual art, an ensemble of gifted Kentucky musicians and artists enshrined the shared history of these documented thirteen women and girls at Transylvania University, creating a rare opportunity for an audience to both mourn and celebrate their lives. This talk proposes to recreate a smaller-scale version of "The Thirteen" which will include a sampling of film, music, visual art, and poetry from the original show, as well as a candid discussion regarding the research of lynchings and political sentiments in Kentucky during this time period.

Projection screen, Power Point projector, projector stand, lectern, and microphone required.

Redefining the Region: Pushing Poetry Through Cultural Space

In the tradition of the Black Arts Movement and the Harlem Renaissance, through literary and other creative pursuits, the Affrilichain Poets continue to reveal relationships that link identity to familial roots, cultural development, socio-economic stratification and political influence, as well as an inherent connection to the land. This talk proposes to discuss the legacy of their work in Kentucky and the Appalachian Region within the context of how poetry challenges boundaries and borders erected by public perception and historically-steeped prejudices.

Projection screen, Power Point projector, projector stand, lectern, and microphone required.

Kary Stackelbeck
Kary Stackelbeck
Archaeology Review Coordinator
Kentucky Heritage Council
300 Washington Street
Frankfort, KY 40601

Work Phone: (502) 564-7005 ext. 115
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.

Lectern, Power Point projector, and projection screen required.

12,000 Years of Cultural Landscapes in Kentucky

As a general rule, it seems that Kentuckians hate to leave the Commonwealth, and if they do, they almost always manage to find their way back. People have been in Kentucky for over 12,000 years, living on and manipulating the landscape, leaving their marks to greater and lesser degrees ever since. In this talk, Dr. Stackelbeck draws on archaeology, history, anthropology, geography, and personal experience to discuss how human-altered landscapes have changed over time across different parts of Kentucky. She explores the deep-seated roots of the importance of 'place' in Kentucky from cross-cultural and long-term perspectives. While the broad themes of this talk are set, Dr. Stackelbeck will tailor the presentation by incorporating places of local significance.

Lectern, Power Point projector, and projection screen required.

Sandra Staebell
Sandra Staebell
Kentucky Museum Registrar/Collections Curator at the Kentucky Museum
Western Kentucky University
1906 College Heights Blvd. #11092
Bowling Green, KY 42101

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

Popular Culture & Art

No Ordinary Dame: Kentuckian Mildred Potter Lissauer & the Colonial Revival Movement

During the 1930s, the Colonial Revival Movement encouraged Americans to look back at the past and develop the practice of so-called traditional crafts, including quilt making. Mildred Potter Lissauer, a most unusual woman, took this to heart and created the Godley Quilt, an extraordinary textile that still turns heads today. This program uses letters, photos, and illustrations from ladies' magazines and pattern books to tell this unique story of one award winning quilt and the woman who made it.

Projection screen, lectern, and microphone required.

Fabulous Flappers:1920s Fashion in the Jazz Age

Take a visual journey back to the 1920s, a time when women bobbed their hair, hemlines rose, and societal norms changed radically. This program will incorporate photos, fashion plates, albums, and other materials in a look at fashion trends in the 1920s America with a particular emphasis on what the women of Kentucky were wearing.

Projection screen and lectern required.

Nature's Bounty as Interpreted in Quilts & Textiles

Nature has inspired generations of American quilters, weavers, and fiber artists. Whether serving as a design element or providing the pattern name, plants and animals have influenced the design of many historic textiles, particularly quilts and coverlets, and provided unique opportunities for the interpretation of the glory of nature. This program is based on Power Point images with a particular emphasis on quilts and coverlets with Kentucky connections. Program hosts may wish to invite audience members to bring their own quilts with natural themes for show and tell after the talk.

Projection screen and lectern required.

Georgia Green Stamper
Georgia Green Stamper
Kentucky Writer, Memoirist, Essayist, NPR Local Commentator
3220 Penbroke Place
Lexington, KY 40509

Work 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.

Lectern and microphone required.

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.

Lectern and microphone required.

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.

Ernest Tucker
Ernest M. Tucker
Deptment of History
Ashland Community College
510 West Pamela Drive
Ashland, KY 41102

Work Phone: (606) 326-2030
Email: ernie.tucker@kctcs.edu

History & Folklore

The Iron Furnaces of "Hanging Rock"

The production of "pig iron" in Northeastern Kentucky ran from about 1830 to 1900 and became a basic industry in the region. Part of the "Hanging Rock Iron producing Region," these stone furnaces produced raw iron from local resources: iron ore, limestone, and charcoal made from hardwood forests. Employing only a few hundred men at each site, the little communities they supported eventually failed when the furnaces shut down. Still, in the 19th century, this region, which included southern Ohio and part of West Virginia as well as northeastern Kentucky, produced most of the raw-iron in use in the United States at this time. The remains of the stone furnaces are still visible around the region. After around 1900, iron ore from the vast Mesabi Range in Minnesota, twice as rich in iron as ours, and coke from coal, quickly replaced our rather primitive methods of smelting iron. Professor Tucker will explain how these furnaces operated, show pictures of some of them, and tell stories connected with this important industry.

Microphone and tables required.

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.

Microphone and tables required.

Maryjean Wall
Maryjean Wall
Kentucky Author
Email: maryjeanwall@yahoo.com

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.

Power Point projector and screen required.

My Old Kentucky Home: Fast Horses and African American Free Towns

Numerous “free towns” or rural hamlets established during or after slavery in Central Kentucky produced much of the work force needed to maintain the horse farms that became iconic to the region. This talk is built around one of the most famous African American horseman that these hamlets produced: champion jockey Jimmy Winkfield. Racism and lack of opportunity drove him from the United States to Russia, where he rode for royalty and then escaped the Bolsheviks.

Power Point projector and screen required.

Between North & South: Kentucky Horses and the Civil War

Abraham Lincoln said, “I hope to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky.” Many others engaged in the Civil War felt the same way about Kentucky horses. Soldiers, guerrillas, and outlaws prized Kentucky horses for their speed, endurance, and agility in battle. They raided Bluegrass farms with impunity and on one occasion, rode off with arguably the best racehorse in America. This talk covers a wide range of matters “equine” relating to Kentucky Thoroughbreds, trotters, and saddlers during the war and the Bluegrass farms they came from. The talk also covers racing which took place in Kentucky and in the North during the war years — and how the horse auctions in Kentucky were negatively affected by the war.

Power Point projector and screen required.

William Weston
William "Beau" Weston
600 West Walnut Street
Danville, KY 40422

Home Phone: (859) 238-7580
Email: beau.weston@centre.edu


Travel Regions: 3, 5, 6

The World is Getting Better

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.

Power Point projector and screen required.

Edward Yager
Edward Yager
Professor of Political Science
Western Kentucky University
Bowling Green, KY

Work Phone: (270) 745-6190
Home Phone: (270) 782-3048
Email: edwardyager@wku.edu

History & Civics

The Living Declaration of Independence

When Thomas Jefferson penned the American Declaration of Independence, he articulated the timeless truths that "all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights." Since July 4, 1776, these truths have been invoked, discussed, and debated with new historical circumstances in America and throughout the world. The Declaration is truly a "living" document. In this presentation, Professor Yager will closely examine the religious and political language of the Declaration with special attention given to how Abraham Lincoln invoked the first principles of the Declaration in his debate with Stephen Douglas prior to the Civil War.

From Religious Toleration to Religious Liberty in America

The fundamental natural right to religious liberty is one of the most important features of American religious and political traditions. Both Thomas Jefferson and James Madison made enormous contributions in advancing religious liberty in the early American Republic and their views were significantly informed by the work of English philosopher John Locke. Professor Yager's presentation will examine Locke's arguments on religious toleration and how those arguments influenced Jefferson and Madison as they argued not only for religious toleration, but for religious liberty as well. Professor Yager will conclude his talk with an analysis of contemporary understandings of religious liberty and how those understandings square with how Jefferson and Madison understood religious liberty one of the most important of all natural rights.

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