Our Communities Subjects

abuse is not LOVE

by Felicia Webster

abuse is not LOVE, is a spoken word play with the creative highlights and energy of Dani Cleveland, Doriette Jordan, Paula Bell and Felicia Webster. This highly charged 40 minute play uses interactive dialogue, gospel, hip hop and theater to disseminate information on the cycle of abuse. With personal testimonies and emotional ups and downs,  this is a show that is dedicated to keeping it real and telling the truth about domestic violence, it’s the healing journey and support needed to make it through the storm.

Ahead of Their Time-The Story of the Omaha DePorres Club

by Matt Holland

Holland reveals the little-know story of the Omaha DePorres Club’s pioneering efforts to change the pattern of racial discrimination and segregation that existed in Nebraska’s largest city. Tracing the arc of the club’s evolution from its founding in 1947, Holland provides moving insights into the members and their motives, struggles, and victories.

In Their Own Image: The Hidden History of African Americans in Omaha

by Patrick Jones

Go beyond negative headlines and persistent stereotypes to discover the rich, and largely hidden, history of African Americans in Omaha. Drawing on an array of digitized artifacts from the Great Plains Black History Museum collection, Jones offers a multi-faceted portrait of black life in Omaha since the late 19th century.

Sand Hills and Sandlots: The Amazing Story of Rushville's Modisett Ball Park

by Jeff Barnes

The panhandle town of Rushville loved and played baseball like most Nebraska communities. Unlike all others, it was the recipient of a beautiful ball field from the state’s biggest rancher and the host of a Major League baseball school and try-out camp, whose students included a Nebraska boy who struck out Mickey Mantle. Barnes tells the fascinating story of Rushville’s 130 years with baseball and how residents past and present came together in 2014 to rebuild Nebraska’s own “field of dreams.”

Urbanization and Native Americans

by Jerome Kills Small

Kills Small discusses the change in the Native American way of life from the reservation to urbanization. Based on his own experiences, Kills Small describes the shift that occurred from the post-World War II period to the present.

Nebraska Spirit: The North Platte Canteen

by Charlotte M. Endorf

During World War II, American soldiers from across the country rolled through North Platte, Nebraska, on troop trains en route to Europe and the Pacific.  Learn the story of the community that turned a railroad depot into a legend and touched the lives of more than six million soldiers from 1942 to 1946.  Charlotte salutes our humble Veterans who served in the military.  This program is excellent for Memorial Day, July 4th, and Veterans Day.

Family Stories into Literature: The Role of Gossip and Research in Fiction

by Karen Gettert Shoemaker

This presentation focuses on the ways writers can use family stories and history to write literature. Sometimes the voices in our heads are enough. Sometimes we need to look beyond the boundaries of self to find the best that is within us. This presentation discusses the ways to excavate history, both our own and the world’s, as a way to finding the true stories only we can write. The program is available in both presentation format and writing workshop format. For adults.

Native American Stereotyping in Popular Culture

by Nancy Gillis

Presentation complete with plenty of example on the negative stereotypical images found in advertising, cartoons, movie plots, and collectibles. Beyond just raising awareness of the problem, the presentation explores way to dispel these myriad incorrect images.

Women and Islam

by Maisha Godare

From an American Muslim women’s perspective, this presentation addresses misconceptions and breaks down stereotypes concerning Muslim women and their rights. It was designed as a tool to open a window into Muslim women’s lives.

The audience will also be introduced to famous Muslim women in history and the modern world.

Getting to Know American Muslims and Their Faith

by Maisha Godare

An overview of American Muslim life and culture illustrating what it means to be Muslim in America. This interactive, informal talk separates facts from fiction with easy to understand coverage of:

  • Beliefs, practices and values
  • Muslim population data
  • Holidays & celebrations
  •  Islams connection with other faiths

Diversity: I was a Stranger

by Ella and Samuel Rathod

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 18.7% of the total U.S. population currently speaks a language other than English at home.  Sam and Ella Rathod share their personal story and experiences to promote understanding, acceptance, and tolerance of different cultures. The Rathod’s believe that the first step towards learning to embrace diversity is to learn and celebrate one’s own heritage and culture.  Their PowerPoint presentation gives practical ideas on how to relate and be comfortable in today’s multicultural world.

How Did Our Election Campaigns Get This Way?

by Barry Anderson

The U.S. was the first country in history founded not by military conquest or religious fervor, but by a small group of men who convinced the majority of people it should exist.  The founding fathers understood the rules of effective public relations campaigns, and journalists were always integral to the process.  But politics changed in the 1930s when Clem Whitaker and Leone Baxter, a couple in California, met by chance, formed a PR firm, and invented the modern negative media campaign.

Anderson tells a fascinating story of the birth of the tactics evident today in every American election.

Understanding American Indian Tribal Governments

by Wynema Morris

Morris asks what it means to be an enrolled tribal member, which leads to the issues of tribal jurisdiction, tribal sovereignty, Las Vegas-style gaming and relationships with the U.S. government. Morris explains the role and function of tribal governments and how the interaction between Indian tribes and early Europeans during the Age of Discovery forged legal and political ties that continue to have an impact today.

Social and Political Structures of the Omaha Tribe

by Wynema Morris

This presentation examines the social and political structures of the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska, and how both structures complemented the other.  Recognition of dualities formed the basis for social structures, as well as to provide the basis for healthy populations. Use of power sharing, governing by consensus, and inclusion of spiritual ritual to “open” political proceedings are presented in-depth.

Why is Lincoln the State Capital and not Yankee Hill?

by Jim McKee

Nebraska’s original territorial capital was located in Omaha. Why, when statehood arrived, was the seat of government relocated to the tiny and insignificant village of Lancaster? Located on the edge of the “Great American Desert,” with a population of just 30, Lancaster was renamed Lincoln and selected as the site for the new state’s capitol building, the university, the insane asylum and the penitentiary. The reasons are complicated, fascinating and—according to McKee—it all boils down to mosquitoes and ice cream.

Looking at Lincoln: Images from the MacDonald Studio

by Jim McKee

For almost 50 years, the MacDonald Studio in Lincoln photographed all aspects of life in the Capital City, including its people, architecture, social and cultural institutions, enterprises and political events. Nearly 30,000 photographs taken by the studio between 1920 and 1957 are in this family album of Lincoln.

The History of the University of Nebraska

by Jim McKee

The location of the University of Nebraska in the state’s capital may seem like a foregone conclusion now, but in the 1860s the new state’s senators chartered 14 other locations before finally settling on Lincoln. The state’s academic stronghold might well have been the “University of Nebraska at Wyoming.” McKee takes a look at the university’s past.

The History of the Nebraska State Capitol

by Jim McKee

This slide-illustrated program tells the story of Nebraska’s two territorial capitol buildings in Omaha and three state capitols in Lincoln. Nebraska’s present capitol, built between 1922 and 1932, is discussed in detail from the design contest ultimately won by Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue, through its being named one of the ten most beautiful buildings in the world, one of the ten best built buildings in the world to one of the 50 most memorable works of architecture in the world.

The Amazing Library of Thomas Jefferson Fitzpatrick

by Jim McKee

Thomas Jefferson Fitzpatrick, longtime resident of Bethany, was a bibliomaniac. This college professor began with a solid collection of rare books inherited from his illustrious namesake. A lifetime of collecting later, he was living entirely in the kitchen of his house while the rest of the property was packed floor to ceiling and wall-to-wall with books. Only after his death in 1952 was the full extent of his obsession uncovered.

Four Reasons Our Taxes Go Up

by Lowen Kruse

Focusing on Nebraska, Lowen Kruse investigates four reasons that taxes go up. He looks at drug use, education, Medicaid and prisons.

Changing Attitudes in Nebraska’s Public Policy for Those in Need

by Lowen Kruse

Sen. Kruse describes the changes in public attitudes about persons and families in crisis, using accounts from the past 150 years in Omaha and Nebraska. This program provides background for current discussions about the use of public funds to provide human services.

Why We Laugh

by Richard Kimbrough

Laughter is one of the defining aspects of what a human being is. This program examines why we laugh and what we laugh about with a particular emphasis on how cultural, social, and generational differences affect the perception of what is funny. A number of humorous stories from various cultures are used to illustrate how humor differs. The presenter is well aware of different cultures, having lived and worked in the U.S.A., England, the former Soviet Union, and Japan. This is at once a funny program and a serious program about how laughter affects our relationships with each other.

From Every Land

by Richard Kimbrough

This program is based on Kimbrough’s book “The Outsiders” (with Mourtazo Chadyev) which focuses on people of “other” cultures who have come to Nebraska. Among those featured are:-Arturo Coto, who went from being minister of health in El Salvador to hoeing beans in western Nebraska to becoming one of the top officials in the Nebraska Department of Health.-Leola Bullock, an African-American who came to Lincoln in the 1950’s and has become one of the nation’s foremost civil rights leaders.-Rauf Aliovsadzade, a world-class violinist and chess master who left Baku because he was married to a woman from the “wrong” country and who has become a member of the Lincoln Symphony—and an American citizen.

Country Tales and Truths

by Richard Kimbrough

This is a look at the residents of a small Nebraska town during the 1930’s and 40’s–­examining both their sense of humor and their values. The stories include Bessie Wemple, the town’s do-gooder, Esty Brace, the egg man at the Co-Op, Old Olaf, the self-­appointed town’s jokester, and Ken and Grace Moore, both amputees who farmed and prospered by helping each other. The program is based on a nationally syndicated column carried by nearly 200 newspapers.

Stained Glass Windows of Nebraska

by Barbara Johnson

Johnson discusses how stained glass windows are produced; the role of immigrants in designing, producing, and bringing these works of art to Nebraska; and some of the most interesting meaning and detail in religious, educational, governmental, commercial, and residential settings. (In addition to this general program, Johnson offers one reflecting on stained glass in the world and writings of Willa Cather.)

Lincoln’s Diverse Past

by Edward Zimmer

An illustrated survey focusing on some of the ethnic and religious groups who settled early in our state’s capital city–a vibrant African-American community, thousands of Germans from Russia, early settlers from Mexico and others. Architectural historian Ed Zimmer uses historic photographs, cemetery records, existing buildings and other sources to offer a visible heritage of these Lincolnites.

Lincoln’s Historic Neighborhoods

by Edward Zimmer

Lincoln is made up of neighborhoods with a distinct character and history. This presentation can take the form of a walking tour (depending upon the weather and the sponsoring group) in one of the Capital City’s historic neighborhoods: The Haymarket, the Near South, Woods Park or other neighborhoods. Zimmer examines the interrelationship of local history, architects and architecture, urban growth and redevelopment. He explores neighborhoods and their buildings to raise (and sometimes answer) historical questions. Visit with Zimmer about options in the focus and format of this program.

The Trans-Mississippi Exposition of 1898 in Omaha

by David Wells

The Trans-Mississippi Exposition of 1898 is celebrated with this presentation of rare photographic images. Hailed as a showcase of technology west of the Mississippi River, the exposition was designed to show that life beyond the mighty river was civilized and forward-thinking. Wells describes the construction of the exposition, the use of the lagoon and the sophisticated buildings at their zenith, and their dismantling.

Our Plains Indian Heritage

by Phyllis R. Stone

Stone, a descendant of Chief Iron Shell, an elder of the Rosebud Sioux tribe and a Sun Dancer, explains the uses and traditions of handmade items she brings for this presentation — items from both past and present American Indian cultures. Dressed in a traditional Sioux woman’s dress, she speaks about the life of the Rosebud Sioux as she shares artifacts. She describes life on the reservation and how her family combines their Indian heritage with other interests. Also included in the talk are artifacts and legends of the Mountain Man and the relationship of that culture to the Indians of the Plains.

The People Who Made it Work: A Centennial History of the Cushman Motor Works

by Mary Kay Quinlan

Based on a 2001 project for the Cushman Motor Works centennial celebration, this presentation tells the history of the Lincoln, Neb., company from its beginnings when the Cushman cousins perfected a modification of a two-cycle engine to its end in 2002 when the product line was moved out of the state. The speaker uses quotes from oral history interviews and a Power Point slide show.

History of the University of Nebraska Medical Center

by John Schleicher

Schleicher presents the history of the University of Nebraska Medical Center exploring the colleges of medicine, nursing, pharmacy, dentistry and school of allied health professions.

Latinos: Searching for the Good Life in Nebraska

by Ben Salazar

Salazar uses his experiences as a Latino who was born and raised in Nebraska, as well as other experiences such as his participation as an activist during the 1960s and ’70s, to educate others about Latino issues in the state. Salazar says that “our role as members of American society continues to intrigue me.”

The Making of a Monument

by Robert C. Ripley

An exploration of the history, art and architecture of the Nebraska State Capitol, “a jewel among historical monuments,” this program explores the complex history of the Capitol, the symbolism embodied in its sculptures and mosaics, the philosophical integration of elements and the building’s place in 20th-century architectural design. The presentation helps audiences better understand and appreciate the powerful message embodied in this prairie monument.

Introduction to Oral History

by Mary Kay Quinlan

Mary Kay Quinlan presents an introduction to oral history for groups and organizations that want to know how this research tool can help them delve into the past. She discusses how the oral history process differs from other kinds of historical information gathering, outlines the steps involved in planning an oral history project and offers examples of how scholars, teachers and community oral historians at home and abroad use oral history to deepen their understanding of their world.

The Irish in Omaha: 1854-2004

by James P. Cavanaugh

This program is a review of the Irish in Omaha from the founding of the city to the present. This program is in conjunction with Omaha’s Sesquicentennial.

The Founding of Omaha: 1854-1860

by James P. Cavanaugh

This program is a review of the events immediately preceding and following the establishment of Omaha City on July 4, 1854. It draws on family and community historical sources.

The Role of Church and School in Rural Nebraska

by Paul V. Campbell

Churches and schools provide essential functions to rural communities, functions way beyond the religion and the school curriculum. This talk examines the variety of roles of schools and churches, what happens to a community when the school or church closes and how small-town revitalization is based in these two community institutions.