Amazon Army Centennial Speaker Series

FRANKLIN, Kan. – Shaft coal mines in Southeast Kansas were deadly. Pay was low. Laws protected owners, not laborers. For three days in December 1921, thousands of wives, daughters, mothers, sisters, and sweethearts of striking miners marched in protest. Being a women’s march, it made national headlines. Throughout 2021, the “Amazon Army” and related stories are being retold.

The Amazon Army Centennial Speaker Series, presented by Miners Hall Museum in Franklin, Kansas:

All programs are scheduled for Sunday’s at 2:00 p.m. Programs are made possible by Humanities Kansas.

July 25th
Sharing Patterns, Sharing Lives
Deborah Divine -Salina, KS

In the early 20th century, Emporia was home to a group of innovative quilters. Today, their quilts are housed in art museums and revered internationally. Learn about Kansas quilts from this time period and the unique collaborations that sparked “the Emporia, Kansas phenomenon” and some of the finest quilts of the 20th century.

August 22nd
Tasting the Past: Exploring Kansas Food Memories
Louise Hanson -Lawrence, Ks

Food is a powerful expression of cultural memory For years, ethnic groups in Kansas have used food to maintain connections to the past. This presentation will explore food traditions from a number of ethnic populations in Kansas, including German, Czech, Italian, Jewish, and others.

September 19th
Railroaded: The Railroad Industry
Leo E. Oliva -Fort Hays, KS

In the 19th century, the influence of the railroad industry was vast.

Railroads brought immigrant settlers, created jobs, and fed beef markets in the East. They enabled regular mail service and the adoption of standard time. This presentation examines the complicated legacy of railroads.

October 24th
Red State: Socialism & The Free Press in Kansas
Matthew Thompson –Overland Park, KS

Although Socialism’s contributions to the labor movement, women’s suffrage, and food safety are well documented, its impact on journalism is less known. At the turn of the 20th century, a cottage industry of small newspapers blossomed in Kansas. This presentation will discuss the rise and fall of the Socialist press in Kansas, as well as its causes, leaders, and detractors, and explore the role of free press.

November 14th
The Harlem Renaissance
Lem Sheppard -Pittsburg, KS

The booming, experimental period of American history known as the Harlem Renaissance exposed the world to the arts, culture, and intellect of African Americans. But it was also a time of struggle when white society failed to respond to issues of civil rights and social equality. This generation was determined to chart a new course far beyond their parents and grandparents, many of whom had been enslaved. Using jazz, blues, spirituals, and poetry, this presentation spans the 1920s and explores the contributions of Kansas artists who answered the call to this unmistakable moment.

December 12th
The March of the Amazon Army
Linda Knoll – Pittsburg, KS

When coal was discovered in Southeast Kansas in the late 1860s, thousands came from all over the world to work the mines. The mix of nationalities created an ethnic geography unique to Kansas that came to be known as the Little Balkans. Miners faced hazardous working conditions, poor pay, and discrimination. In 1921, thousands of women marched on the coal mines in support of striking miners. The New York Times dubbed them the “Amazon Army.” This spirited act linked men and women together in one of the most dynamic pages in the history of American labor.