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Summer 2019 Newsletter

1950s Chautauqua rocks & rolls into Kearney

On August 2 & 3, Humanities Nebraska helped put “The Fifties in Focus” in a newly invigorated and re-imagined Nebraska Chautauqua.  

Hundreds of people, including Chautauqua fans from other communities, gathered in Kearney to explore many different aspects of America’s most iconic decade. The Downtown Kearney Business Association welcomed participants with a 1950s concert on Thursday evening featuring the Surfin’ Safari Band. 

Friday evening, HN kicked off “The Fifties in Focus” with a fashion show featuring Speakers Bureau favorite Sue McLain and local models. Dr. William I. Hitchcock of the University of Virginia then took the podium with his talk, “Liking Ike: How Eisenhower Defined the 1950s.”

Saturday was filled with a variety of breakout sessions on topics ranging from the Cold War to sports, pop culture to agriculture. In the evening, Chautauqua scholars Becky Stone and Dr. Lenneal Henderson portrayed Rosa Parks and Thurgood Marshall. After their vivid performances, they took questions from the audience as their respective historic figures, followed by a question-and-answer session with the three main scholars. 

Humanities Nebraska thanks the many Chautauqua committee members, sponsors, and volunteers who helped launch “The Fifties in Focus.”

Major funders included the Johnny Carson Fund at the Nebraska Cultural Endowment,  Kearney Visitors Bureau, the Ron & Carol Cope Foundation, Culligan of Kearney, Tami & Jerry Hellman, the Kearney Area Community Foundation,  and many other organizations and businesses. HN is also grateful to the participating venues: Merryman Performing Arts Center, Kearney Public Library, the City of Kearney and the World Theatre.


Humanities Nebraska programming is made possible by:

and generous individuals, foundations, and businesses across Nebraska.