[logo:Kansas Heritage Group]

Kansas History Web Sites

[logo: Kansas-Nebraska Chautauqua, courtesy Kansas Humanities Council]

Kansas Chautauqua 2010
Bright Dreams, Hard Times: America in the Thirties

Colby, KS

June 2-6, 2010

Belleville, KS

June 9-13, 2010

The Kansas Humanities Council Chautauqua will visit Colby, KS, June 2-6, and Belleville, KS, June 9-13. Five humanities professional scholars will portray President Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), Sen. Huey Long (1893-1935) of Louisiana, Pentecostal leader Aimee Semple McPherson (1890-1944), Harlem Renaissance writer/folklorist Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960) and humorist Will Rogers (1879-1935). Each will have 40 minutes one day of the week to glean personal and historical accounts of the 1930s, a period when the Great Depression, Dust Bowl and the beginning of World War II dominated the American landscape. The Chautauqua theme is Bright Dreams, Hard Times: America in the Thirties.

Patrick E. McGinnis will portray Franklin D. Roosevelt, the president of the United States from 1932-1945 and the leader of the New Deal to help Americans in their time of need. McGinnis holds a Ph.D. from Tulane University and for the last four years has been emeritus professor of history at the University of Central Oklahoma.

Fred Krebs will portray Huey Long, the Louisiana senator who, unlike Roosevelt, used force and totalitarian tactics to attempt to bring aid to his constituents and Americans. A professor of history at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kan., Krebs is an active Chautauqua speaker, participating in 16 states with some 15 different historical characterizations.

Tonia Compton will portray Aimee Semple McPherson, who provided relief to impoverished families in Los Angeles and who was a pioneer evangelist and pastor. Compton is a history doctoral candidate at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and holds a master’s degree from Texas A & M.

Carmaletta M. Williams will portray Zora Neale Hurston, who worked for Federal WPA projects collecting folklore and authored works of fiction and non-fiction during the Thirties. Williams holds a Ph.D. from the University of Kansas at Lawrence, and currently teaches English at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kan.

Doug Watson will portray Will Rogers, American humorist, radio and film star, and essayist who commented on American culture and politics. As moderator for each performance, Will Rogers will bring audiences into the Thirties using his authentic American voice. Watson holds a Ph.D. from Texas Tech University and teaches English at Oklahoma Baptist University.

Economic depression, a devastating environmental disaster—the Dust Bowl on the Great Plains—and signs of worldwide political unrest characterized the 1930s. In the midst of these difficulties, most Americans had an underlying optimism.

The Chautauqua is a revival of the traveling tent chautauquas that educated and entertained Kansans during the first decades of the past century. The Kansas Humanities Council sponsors the contemporary Chautauqua.

Humanities professionals portray these historical figures in costume and in character. Chautauqua includes evening programs in which the characters appear on stage under the tent to discuss their lives. Daily workshops for adults and special events for children are also planned.

Chautauqua also features a Youth Chautauqua Camp and various lectures, workshops and tours during the course of the event. At the five-day Youth Chautauqua Camp, for fifth- through eighth-graders, will be historians, researchers and scriptwriters as they present their own historical characters on the Sunday night of Chautauqua.

The Chautauqua explores persons of history that caused transformations of America. In addition to the evening tent programs, workshops and events will be held throughout each day of Chautauqua week.

According to Deborah Pomeroy, Kansas Humanities Council Kansas Chautauqua coordinator, this summer marks the 28th year that the Chautauqua has toured Kansas.

The Chautauqua is a partnership of the Kansas Humanities Council, the Nebraska Humanities Council, the Solomon Valley Highway 24 Heritage Alliance and the Lawrence Convention and Visitors Bureau.

For additional information about this summer's Chautauquas, contact the Kansas Humanities Council at (785) 357-0359 or email: info@kansashumanities.org

The Kansas Humanities Council website has details on all their programs. logo: Kansas Humanities Council

Kansas Humanities Council


The Kansas Humanities Council is a nonprofit cultural organization with over 30 years experience in supporting Kansas community-based programs.

Huey Long

Will Rogers

Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum

Aimee Semple McPherson , University of Virginia

Zora Neale Hurston

WWW-VL: United States History: 1930s

City of Ottawa, KCN

Harvey County, Hesston

Site author: George Laughead, manager, WWW-VL: United States History, hosted at the European University Institute.

Return to the Kansas History Web Sites directory or the Kansas Heritage Group.
Site previously maintained at the University of Kansas. Posted: 11 January 2008; updated 24 May 2010.
URL: http://www.kansashistory.us/chautauqua.html