Category Archives: History

Gordon Parks Birthday Celebration Is November 30

Gordon Parks. Submitted photo.


Phone: 620-223-2700, ext. 5850                                                

Email: [email protected]



The Gordon Parks Museum at Fort Scott Community College will celebrate the anniversary of Gordon Parks’ birthday on Thursday, November 30th with the showing of films throughout the day. The events are free of charge and the public is invited to attend.

The schedule throughout the day will include:


9:25 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. – Showing of the Criterion Collection film, The Learning Tree.


11:25 a.m. – 12:05 p.m. – Showing of the Criterion Collection films The Movie Makers, a featurette that shows Parks on location for The Learning Tree film.  And My Father: Gordon Parks, (1969), a documentary made on the set of The Learning Tree, narrated by Gordon Parks Jr., and featuring on the set interviews with Gordon Parks Sr. and members of the cast and crew.


12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Join us for Birthday Cake in the Gordon Parks Museum on the Fort Scott Community College Campus Center.

1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Showing of the film Moments Without Proper Names.


Throughout the day, visitors will be able to receive a 25% birthday discount on all apparel items.

Parks, born in Fort Scott on November 30, 1912, would have been 111 this year.  He died on March 7, 2006, at the age of 93.  The films will be shown in the Danny and Willa Ellis Family Fine Arts Center. For more information contact the Gordon Parks Museum at 620- 223-2700, ext. 5850, or by email at [email protected]


A Deeper Look at Native Americans and the Civil War

Chief Opothleyahola, Credit Photo as: National Archives Photo


Fort Scott National Historic Site concludes the first year of Native American Experience programming with two chapters from the Civil War in Kansas.

The first presentation, “A Shield Against the World”: Opothleyahola and the Trail of Blood on Ice Campaign in the Civil War, is by Dr. Michelle M. Martin on Saturday, November 18th, at 1 pm.

The second presentation, “Allies and Adversaries”: The role of American Indians in the Civil War west of the Mississippi River, is by Arnold W. Schofield on Sunday, November 19th, at 2 pm.

Both programs will be held in the park’s Theater on the second floor of the western Infantry Barracks.


“A Shield Against the World”: During the American Civil War the Five Southeastern Nations in the Indian Territory were divided. Pro‐Union, Pro‐Confederate, and Neutral factions developed within the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Mvskoke, and Seminole Nations. Wishing to remain neutral, Mvskoke leader Opothleyahola provided shelter to men, women, and children who wanted to stay out of the war. In the fall of 1861 Opothleyahola’s followers neared 10,000 and he led them on a desperate flight north to the safety of Union Kansas. Dr. Michelle M. Martin, an Assistant Professor of History/Coordinator of the Public History Certificate in the Department of History at Northeastern State University, will share this incredible and often misunderstood event in Native American history.


“Allies and Adversaries”: The program will be presented by retired NPS Historian Arnold W. Schofield, and its primary focus will be on the organization, recruitment and combat history of the Three Regiments of Indian Home Guards from Kansas. The program will close on an unknown aspect of the Civil War in Kansas, the Indian uprising by the plains tribes in 1864.



Dr. Michelle M. Martin is a Michigan native who made her way west after completing her BA and MA degrees in history at Western Michigan University. From 1997-2015 she lived in Fort Scott, Kansas and Bartlesville, Oklahoma where she taught history at the community college and university levels and worked as a museum professional and historical consultant to the television and film industries. While living in Kansas and Oklahoma Martin volunteered her time to various national, state, and local historic sites including Fort Scott NHS, Fort Larned NHS, Constitution Hall, Mine Creek Battlefield, and Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield. She earned her doctorate in history (and a minor in museum studies) at the University of New Mexico in 2022 with highest honors. Her dissertation was selected for the Linda Williams Reese Award from the Oklahoma Historical Society as the Outstanding Dissertation on Oklahoma History in March 2023. In August 2023 she joined the faculty in the Department of History at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Her areas of interest include Native American history, the U.S. West from 1800-1925, Kansas history from 1854-1865, interracial marriage and family in North America, and Public History. Her current project explores interracial marriage in the Mvskoke Nation during the Indian Territorial period.


Arnold W. Schofield is a retired NPS Historian who spent much of his civilian career at Fort Scott National Historic Site. He is currently a researcher, public speaker, and traveling lecturer around the region.


Fort Scott National Historic Site’s, a unit of the National Park Service, exhibit areas and visitor center are open daily from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. The park grounds are open daily from a half hour before sunrise until a half hour after sunset.





Award-Winning Teacher and Students Visit the Lowell Milken Center



Paige Franzen, Kadence Huck, and Callahan Levi, winners of the $2,500 First Prize in the Lowell Milken Center’s 2023 International Discovery Award competition, will be guests at the LMC on Thursday, November 2nd.

These 11th-grade students from Nashua-Plainfield High School in Nashua, Iowa, along with their award-winning social studies teacher, Suzy Turner, a 2022 LMC Fellow, are in Fort Scott to collaborate with the LMC staff on the production of a new exhibit panel for the Center’s Hall of Heroes.

The new exhibit will feature Unsung Hero Christine Grant, the subject of the students’ award-winning project. Their documentary, Why Not Us? Dr. Christine Grant’s Pursuit of Gender Equality, shares the story of Dr. Grant’s significant contributions to furthering gender equality in collegiate sports. As the decades-long athletic director at the University of Iowa, Grant embraced the historic passing of Title IX, building a highly recognized and unprecedented women’s athletic program.

Through their interviews with Grant’s previous students, mentees, and colleagues, the Nashua students were able to provide firsthand insight into the legacy she left behind. This information will be a valuable resource as the Lowell Milken Center staff works with Suzy Turner and her students to create a powerful new exhibit.

About the Lowell Milken Center: The Lowell Milken Center is a non-profit 501 © (3) that works with students and educators within diverse academic disciplines to develop projects focused on unsung heroes. Once their projects are finished, we advocate for the student’s unsung heroes by sharing them in our Hall of Unsung Heroes or our website so people all over the world discover their individual influence and obligation to take actions that improve the lives of others. The Hall of Unsung Heroes is proudly located in Southeast Kansas and showcases some of the top projects developed in collaboration with the Center.





Gordon Parks Museum Receives a Cross from the African American Methodist Episcopal Church

Shane Walker, left, and Kirk Sharp hold the cross that Walker donated to the Gordon Parks Museum earlier this month. Submitted photol.

Shane Walker, a resident of Fort Scott,  and longtime admirer of Gordon Parks, has donated one of the church crosses that was found in the African American Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church.

The donation was held during one of the Gordon Parks Celebration events on Saturday, October 7, “History of the Hawkins/Plaza School and All-School Reunion.”

The wooden cross stands approximately, 3ft-by-5ft and has fixtures for a lighted bulb display.

“We are so very thankful to Shane for this wonderful contribution to our museum.” said Kirk Sharp, museum, executive director. “This cross is great addition with our other artifacts from the AME Church that includes a stain glass window, church pews, corner stone and much more.”

The AME church was located on the southeast corner of Third and Lowman Streets before it was torn down in 2001. Gordon Parks and his family attended this church regularly. The church was also used in a scene from Parks’ acclaimed film, The Learning Tree.

42nd Annual Candlelight Tour Tickets On Sale November 1

Be an Active Part of History this Holiday Season


Wednesday, November 1, 2023, tickets for Fort Scott National Historic Site’s 42nd Annual Candlelight Tour go on sale. Tickets are available by calling the fort at 620-223-0310 (with a major credit card) or by stopping by the Visitor Center on Old Fort Blvd. Tickets are $8.00 per person and non-refundable, children 5 and under are free. It is recommended that you get your tickets early to ensure your choice of tour times, as this event frequently sells out.


The 42nd Annual Candlelight Tour is Friday and Saturday, December 1 and 2, 2023. Tours on December 1 will begin at 6:30 pm and leave every 15 minutes until 9 pm. On Saturday, December 2, the tours will start at 5 pm with the final tour leaving at 9 pm. Please arrive 10 minutes early to allow time to park, present/pick up your ticket, and get oriented. Participants are advised to please dress for the weather and conditions, as the entire tour will be outside and on sidewalks.


1,000 candle lanterns illuminate the site and reenactors (including you) bring the fort to life.

This year’s tour is about Health and Wellness. During the tour, you will be immersed in ways people have historically been provided the opportunity to be healthy and embrace happiness, despite their struggles.


From November 1-March 31, Fort Scott National Historic Site, a unit of the National Park Service, will be open for its winter hours of operation.  The site exhibit areas and visitor center are open daily from 8:30 am-4:30 pm. The park grounds are open daily from ½ hour before sunrise until ½ hour after sunset. For more information about Fort Scott National Historic Site programs or become involved in the candlelight tour, or other activities, please contact the park at 620-223-0310 or visit our website at




Credit Photos as: NPS Photo/C. Brenner

Killers of the Flower Moon Free Movie Premiere in Fort Scott Oct. 20

Killers of the Flower Moon Free Movie Premiere in Fort Scott


Friday, October 20, 2023, the Friends of Fort Scott National Historic Site, Inc. and Fort Scott National Historic Site are sponsoring the premiere of Killers of the Flower Moon, as a part of the nationwide release. The free premiere showing is at 6:40 p.m. and is hosted by the Fort Scott Cinema, 224 W 18th St, Fort Scott, KS 66701.

The free tickets are available at the box office at show time.


In the late 1800s, oil was discovered on the Osage Indian Reservation in present-day Osage County, Oklahoma. The members of the Osage Nation earned royalties from oil sales through their federally mandated “head rights,” and, by the 1920s, the richest people in the world were members of the Osage Nation. Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off.

The family of an Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, became a prime target. Her relatives were shot and poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more and more members of the tribe began to die under mysterious circumstances.

FBI agents infiltrated the region, struggling to adopt the latest techniques of detection. Together with the Osage they began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history. This conspiracy of theft, terror, and genocide helped launch J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI.

This film is an adaptation by Director Martin Scorsese of the book Killers of the Flower Moon, a narrative nonfiction by David Grann.


There are 25,288 Osage Tribal Members who live across the globe, with just under half residing in Oklahoma. In “Killers of the Flower Moon”, the language you hear is taught by Osage Nation Language Teachers, the traditional clothing you see is made by Osage artists, and the landscape is the Osage Nation Reservation. They are not relics. The Osage Nation is a sovereign Nation that is thriving. A people of strength, hope, and passion, honoring the stories of the past and building the world of the future.


This is but one series of the many traumas experienced in Native American history. The National Park Service encourages you to be part of the discussion and learn more at,, or This event is a portion of a series of programs and events around the Native American Experience that Fort Scott National Historic Site and the Friends of the Fort have been hosting such as Wahzhazhe, the Osage Ballet.  Additional programs are to be announced soon.


Fort Scott National Historic Site’s, a unit of the National Park Service, exhibit areas and visitor center are open daily from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. The park grounds are open daily from a half hour before sunrise until a half hour after sunset. To find out more or become involved in activities at the Fort, please contact the park at 620-223-0310 or visit our website at




Image of Mollie Burkhart.  Credit Photo as: The Bismarck Tribune, June 16, 1926

Cato Kids’ Day

The annual Cato Kids’ Day will be presented to 4th and 5th graders from local elementary schools by the Cato Historical Preservation Association on Thursday October19th from 9 a.m. to2 p.m. 


Cato, Kansas – The annual Cato Kids’ Day will be held on Thursday October 19th from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Cato, Kansas.  Fourth and Fifth graders from local elementary schools will be bused to Cato to see presentations on life in the 1800s and Cato history.  The presentations will include the one-room school house, pioneer kids’ games, covered wagons, blacksmithing, 1800’s weaponry, cowboys, native Americans, drovers, and the Gettysburg Address.  Schools participating include Mettles, Meadowlark, Lakeside and Westside (Pittsburg), Bronaugh, Liberal, Uniontown, Frontenac, Northeast, St. Mary’s (Fort Scott) and Girard.  Approximately 650 students are expected to attend.

A separate event, Cato Days, will be held for the general public on Saturday October 21st from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Cato is located between Pittsburg and Fort Scott. Take Hwy 69 to 720 road and follow the signs.

The Cato Historical Preservation Association is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the buildings and past of Cato and surrounding areas.



Lowell Milken Center News: Updates From October

New Unsung Heroes Emerge from

2023 Discovery Award Competition

The Grand Prize winner of the 2023 Discovery Award Competition is Sasha Allen from Eden Prairie, MN. Sasha’s extraordinary documentary, 3-6-9 KID: How Child Spy Agnes Láckovič Saved Hundreds from the Nazis, left us in awe! Learn more about Sasha by checking out this excellent article, Student Spotlights Unsung Hero Stories, by Hannah Ward at the Star Tribune. Photo by SHARI L. GROSS Star Tribune staff

3-6-9 KID: How Child Spy Agnes Láckovič Saved Hundreds from the Nazis masterfully relates the powerful impact of this 17-year-old unsung hero, who courageously saved the lives of hundreds of Jews and other endangered people during WWII.

The first-place winner of the 2023 Discovery Award Competition went to Paige Franzen, Kadence Huck and Callahan Levi from Nashua-Plainfield High School in Nashua, Iowa. Their powerful documentary, Why Not US? Dr. Christine Grant’s Heroic Pursuit of Gender Equality, is fascinating! Learn more about these multi-talented students by checking out this clip from KCRG-TV9 News at 9.

Pictured are Suzy Turner (the Talented and Gifted teacher and National History Day advisor at Nashua-Plainfield Jr/Sr High School), Callahan Levi, Kadence Huck, Paige Franzen, and Norm Conard (Executive Director of the Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes). Photo by Jennifer Kalainoff

Why Not Us? Dr. Christine Grant’s Heroic Pursuit of Gender Equality tells the story of Dr. Grant, the first women’s athletic director at the University of Iowa, and the significant impact she made in advancing gender equality in women’s sports.

ARTEFFECT News and Updates

Call for ARTEFFECT Submissions!
The 2023-2024 ARTEFFECT Competition Submission Portal Opens Wednesday, November 1, 2023. This competition invites student to honor Unsung Heroes through the visual arts and is open to all U.S. and international middle and high school students.

*   Learn How to Submit
*   View Past Winners
*   Download the Lesson Plan
*   Watch the ARTEFFECT Promo Video

Learn More about ARTEFFECT

Fellows News and Updates

2014 LMC Fellow Brian Langley brought his daughter to the LMC.

It was heartwarming to see Brian share the magic of the LMC with the next generation. Their visit reminded us that our community is not just about work; it’s also about family and cherished memories.

Brian shared that his class has done unsung hero projects every year since completing his fellowship at the LMC. Thank you, Brian, for being an inspiration and for sharing the stories of unsung heroes with your daughter and with your students!

Thanks to Leslie Sullivan, a 2021 LMC Fellow, for showcasing the Unsung Heroes projects at the Engage Carolinas Milken Conference in Charlotte, NC.

Your dedication to highlighting these heroes is genuinely inspiring!

We celebrated World Teacher Day on October 5th, honoring our LMC Fellows and educators from all corners of the globe for the incredible, lasting impact they make on their students’ lives.

We hope you will express your gratitude and thank a teacher who’s made a difference in your journey.

LMC News and Updates

Fall at the LMC has been nothing short of a whirlwind, from the exciting Discovery Award announcements to marking significant dates and gearing up for the festive holiday season. In case you missed them, here are some standout highlights we’ve saved just for you in this edition!


During this #HispanicHeritageMonth, we shine a spotlight on these remarkable unsung heroes featured at the Lowell Milken Center, whose contributions have left a lasting mark on history:

Sylvia Mendez: An advocate for educational equality, Sylvia, along with her family, bravely helped initiate the desegregation of California schools, paving the way for future generations. Sylvia was the subject of Separate Will Never Be Equal, the 2021 ARTEFFECT Certificate of Excellence award-winning project by Zoe Spikerman from Parker School in Waimea, Hawaii.

Elizabeth Catlett: A talented artist and sculptor, Elizabeth used her gifts to reflect the strength and beauty of the African-American and Mexican-American communities. Elizabeth was the subject of Dr. Elizabeth Catlett: Artist To Some, Activist For Many, Unsung Hero To All, a 2023 Discovery Award-winning documentary by Loup County HS student Angel Estrada.

Ralph Lazo: Ralph, a Mexican-American teenager, voluntarily enrolled in a Japanese-American internment camp during World War II to support his friends and neighbors. Ralph was the subject of Ralph Lazo: The Voluntary Prisoner, a project developed by 4th graders in Shannon Garrison’s class at Solano Avenue Elementary in Los Angeles.

We celebrated the anniversary of the beginning of

Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project.

The following is a note from Norm Conard LMC’s Executive Director, and the teacher behind the project.

It has been an incredible journey since the inception of Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project, which began 24 years ago. On September 23, 1999, a group of dedicated students from a small, rural Kansas high school embarked on a mission for the National History Day program. Little did they know that their efforts would have a profound and lasting impact on the world.

Over the past two decades, the heroic actions of Irena Sendler continue to resonate powerfully through her story, as told by those students. Our mission to share this remarkable tale with the world has only grown stronger.

Norman Conard



Dive into the LMC Newsroom to explore the incredible media coverage of the Discovery Award announcements from across the nation.

Discover the buzz and excitement that’s been generated nationwide!

Pioneer Harvest Fiesta Starts Today at Bourbon County Fairgrounds

Come and visit the Pioneer Harvest Fiesta!  Today is the first day!  The quilt show opens from 9am to 4pm today and Saturday.  Sunday’s hours are noon to 3pm.  There are many beautiful quilts to admire.  Cassino Richardson is here with her fabrics, precuts, books and more.  Erica of Nine Patch Quilt Shop has a variety of Christmas gifts and ideas to choose from.  Watch Bobbi Schroeder do wonders with her quilting machine.  At 1pm Saturday come to listen to Paul Milks as he tells us of his journey with Cross Stitch.  He has beautiful designs for you to see.

Don’t forget the bean feed Friday evening complete with cornbread and all the add ons.  It is free with a Pioneer Harvest 2023 Collector button.  $5 gives you a button which gets you in the show all three days.  What a deal!  There is also a car show on Saturday off Eddy Street at the north end of the fairgrounds.

Submitted by Jackie Warren



The annual Cato Days will be presented by the Cato Historical Preservation Association on Saturday October 21st from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Admission is free.



The annual Cato Days will be held on Saturday October 21st from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Cato, Kansas.  This free event is presented by the Cato Historical Preservation Association to promote Cato’s pioneer history.

Cato Days starts with registration at 9 a.m. followed at 9:30 by old time hymns performed by Ralph Carlson and Friends in the historic Cato Christian Church.  Ann Rawlins will talk about the history of the church.  At 10:45, in the Old Stone School, Anna Portwood Swank, Elizabeth Portwood Thompson and Jamie Thompson will talk about the school and Jerry Lomshek will discuss Cato’s early history and its involvement in Bleeding Kansas and the Civil War.  Musical entertainment will be presented outdoors at 11:45, where drinks and ham‘n beans cooked by Bob “Buck” Rowland of Arma will be available.  At 12:30 there will be a raffle for a beautiful quilt donated by Sue James of Texas.  All proceeds go to the preservation of Cato’s historic buildings.  The highlight of the event will be the hayrack wagon ride to various local sites of historical interest at 1 p.m.

Fourth and Fifth graders from local schools will have their own Cato Day on Thursday, October 19th.

Cato is in the northern part of Crawford County off Hwy 69.  From Hwy 69, turn west on 720th avenue and follow the signs to Cato.  Directions can be found at .  Cato is an open-air museum and its buildings are only open to the public a few times a year so don’t miss this unique opportunity to spend an afternoon of entertainment and enlightenment in historic Cato.  The Cato Historical Preservation Association is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the buildings and history of Cato and the surrounding areas.



Murder and Mayhem at the Fort on Halloween Night

Looking for some added Halloween fun?

Tuesday, October 31, 2023, join Fort Scott National Historic Site guides for a special candle lantern walk called the Murder and Mayhem at the Fort Lantern Tour, according to a press release.

There is no cost to the public.

Tour guides from the 1840s-1860s, will share some of the lesser-told tragedies and macabre events that were far too common in Fort Scott’s 19th century.

“There was violence and tragedy that happened at the fort during the 1840s to the 1860s,” Carl Brenner, FSNHS Chief of Interpretation and Resource Management, said. “The fort was the whole town during this time, and there were 1,000s of soldiers here during the Civil War.”

They will talk, in period costume, about some of those events.

Tour guides are Carl Brenner, Barry Geertsen, and Jessica Nielsen-employees at the Fort, and Matthew Wells, a member of the Friends of Fort Scott National Historic Site.

These four special Halloween lantern tours will start every 30 minutes beginning at 6:30 pm at the visitor center.

Space is limited and required reservations will open Friday, October 13, at 8:30 a.m. Contact the park at 620-223-0310 or visit the website at

Those with reservations, please arrive 10 minutes early to allow time to park and get oriented, according to the press release. Participants are advised to please dress for the weather and conditions, as the entire tour will be outside and on sidewalks.

“We’ve been planning this for several years,”  Brenner, said. “But staff turnover precluded us from moving forward. All our pumpkins are in a line now and we can move forward.”

Carl Brenner.

Fort Scott National Historic Site, a unit of the National Park Service, exhibit areas and visitor center are open daily from 8:30 a.m. to  4:30 p.m. The park grounds are open daily from a half hour before sunrise until a half hour after sunset. To find out more or become involved in activities at the Fort, please contact the park at 620-223-0310 or visit our website at




Fall Means Pioneer Harvest Fiesta

Fall has arrived and that means it is time for Pioneer Harvest Fiesta.

A parade on Thursday evening, October 5 at 6 p.m., starts the busy weekend.

Come join us at the Bourbon County Fairgrounds with activities for all ages.  Groups of school children will be there on Friday to see how their ancestors had to work hard to harvest their crops, saw the wood, crush rocks and more.  Demonstrations will be throughout the show, October 6, 7, and 8.

Live music and a Sunday morning service will be in the entertainment tent.

The quilt show will be in the Myers Building.  Quilts can be brought for display on Thursday, October 5, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.   The quilt show will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday during Pioneer Harvest Fiesta and noon to 3 p.m. on Sunday.

Please call Jackie Warren for more information 620-224-8161.

A car show is being added to Pioneer Harvest Fiesta!

The 25-year-old or older vehicles will be on exhibit Saturday, October 7, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., parked at the north end of the fairgrounds.

For more information, please call President Craig Shikles, 417-425-4552 or Vice President Larry Richard, 620-249-4385.

If you would like to be a vendor, call Delphine Parks, 262-416-6720.