Missouri history | KCUR

Missouri history

U.S.S. Missouri Memorial Association

The massive guns on board the U.S.S. Missouri are a sight-to-see, but it wasn't the ship's weaponry garnering all the attention on a late summer night in 1989.

The U.S.S. Missouri Memorial Association is preparing to commemorate 75 years since the end of World War II, which is a good time remember the battleship is famous for more than just its massive, 16" guns and its role in the war. A concert on the ship created its own shock and awe.

Segment 1: Richard Nixon's impeachment parallels that of President Donald Trump.

President Richard Nixon's impeachment trials were about more than just the Watergate scandal. Biographer John Farrell said Nixon's use of presidential power to advance his personal political ambition mirrors that of the current Oval Office occupant, who is currently being investigated by the U.S. House of Representaives.

Steve Willis Photography

In her telling of Kansas City history, writer Karla Deel made room for people and topics she says wouldn't have a place in other history books — "vulnerable voices that are often hushed," she calls them.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

In the annals of Wild West lawmen, you may not know Thomas Speers, the first police chief in Kansas City, but he was a legend in the late 19th century.

“He was contemporaries with 'Bat' Masterson, Wyatt Earp, 'Wild Bill' Hickok," says his great-grandson Clay Speers. "They would hang around when he was town marshal at the City Market square."

Segment 1: Local lawyer finds a niche in space law

Space is an exciting new frontier, challenging humanity to advance in math, science, and engineering. But what about law? We hear from a Kansas City lawyer who has made a name for himself in dealing with the ownership of objects originating from space.

  • Chris McHugh, lawyer

Segment 2, beginning at 15:35: Mark Twain's love letter to American cuisine

Samuel King / KCUR 89.3

Missouri has long been a conservative state in its outlook, no matter the party in charge. So in January, when legislative leaders celebrated the 100th General Assembly and the 100th anniversary of the Assembly meeting at the Capitol building in Jefferson City, there were no fireworks over the Missouri River or a grand gala.

Instead, there was a special joint session of the General Assembly and a reception with a “massive” cake in the rotunda.

Segment 1: Mark Twain's love letter to American cuisine.

Samuel Clemens, AKA Mark Twain, was an avid writer and traveler. He was also a champion of America's regional foods. While homesick in Europe, he wrote an extensive list of the foods he missed, like prairie hen and peach cobbler. On this episode, we speak with the author who's been following in Twain's culinary footsteps, first for a book in 2011, and now for a podcast.

Courtesy of Clay County Historic Sites

The Jesse James Bank Museum in Liberty, Missouri, is a repository of myth and legend about the notorious 19th century outlaws Frank and Jesse James. It's where they pulled off the first successful daytime bank robbery in 1866 that occured not during wartime.

Michelle Tyrene Johnson / KCUR

Levi Harrington was lynched on April 3, 1882, in the West Bottoms of Kansas City, Missouri.

That may seem like a long time ago, but after 136 years, the aftermath of racial terror lynchings reverberates today. That's why lynchings — and Harrington — are being remembered in Kansas City with a new memorial.