To the editor:
The "fiery anti-slavery proclamation" of Lawrence's John Speer being reprinted to raise money for our Hobbs Park Memorial and the formation of the Black Jack Battlefield Trust, hoping to preserve the site where abolitionist John Brown defeated a pro-slavery militia are both grand volunteer efforts to attract a National Heritage Area designation featuring our "Bleeding Kansas" history. Topeka students, researching John Richie, a stationmaster on the Underground Railroad in Kansas, won first place in the National History Day competition.
Missing is the prestigious National Park Service grant of $20,000 awarded our Watkins Community Museum, through the efforts of its archivist, Judy Sweets, working on her own time to develop the Underground Railroad exhibit and mural proposal, featuring local artist Wayne Wildcat.
Instead, our museum board submits to the strapped County Commission -- and its taxpayers -- a request for a $25,000 grant-writing position, after having slashed the salary of its archivist and encouraging her to work weekends for free to restore her salary!
Good that the County Commission finally seeks a seat on the museum's management committee! Wish they could restore the Underground Railroad grant they turned down even as our community strives for a National Heritage Area designation.