Augusta Public Library will offer a three part book discussion series September through November exploring the theme "Before the Civil War." Members of the community are invited to attend the free programs, which will take place at the library at 1609 State.
The series is sponsored by the Kansas Humanities Council (KHC), a nonprofit cultural organization, as part of its Talk About Literature in Kansas (TALK) program. KHC is furnishing the books and discussion leaders for the Augusta TALK series. For more information about KHC, visit www.kansashumanities.org.
The first meeting is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 8. Mickey Chance-Reay will lead a discussion of The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton by Jane Smiley.
Between 1854-1861, people with opposing views from across the United State clashed withinthe Kansas territory. Would Kansas allow slavery within its borders? Or, would it join the United States as a free state? Two competing visions of America's future were to be determined on the Kansas frontier. However, the Kansas Territory was already home to many Native Americans. How would settlement impact the existing Native American way-of-life?
The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton by Jane Smiley is set mostly in the Kansas Territory shortly before the Civil War, narrator Lydia "Lidie" Harkness recounts her adventures while disguised as a boy, reporting for a proslavery newspaper, and helping a woman escape a plantation.
Michaeline Chance-Reay teaches courses in Women's Studies and Education at Kansas State University. She received her Ph.D. in Humanities Education and an M.S.W. in Social Work from Ohio State University. In 1998, her research resulted in an exhibition at the Riley County Historical Museum and an accompanying book, Land Grant Ladies: Kansas State University Presidential Wives. Her current research deals with the Harvey Girls, waitresses along the route of the Santa Fe Railroad, and historic sites on the K-State campus, especially those related to women. Mickey serves on the KHC Speakers Bureau and has been leading TALK discussions since 1999.
The series continues with John Brown by Merrill D. Peterson on October 6, and The Englishman in Kansas by T.H. Gladstone on Nov. 10.
To check out books and for more information about the reading series, contact Carol Courtwright at 775-2681.