Archive for Sunday, September 20, 2009

Big birthday

Our city was founded on the conviction that slavery should be abolished. We should celebrate the principles of our founders as 2011 approaches.

September 20, 2009


The year 2011 should be an important one in Lawrence’s history.

A group of Lawrence residents will get together next week to discuss 2011 and how the community may throw a grand party at Sesquicentennial Point to celebrate Kansas’ 150th birthday.

We applaud the group for being forward-looking, and we encourage interested residents to attend the meeting — set for 3 p.m. Thursday at the public library.

But we also urge the community to think even bigger.

In addition to 2011 being the 150th birthday for the state, the year also marks the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the U.S. Civil War.

No community in America should have more to say about that occasion than Lawrence.

The Civil War flows through the veins of Lawrence. We are a unique community in America because we are a city that was founded not on commerce. We are a city founded on conviction — the conviction that slavery should be abolished.

It was a conviction that captured the attention of a nation. All serious sets of eyes in America were focused on eastern Kansas and western Missouri in the late 1850s. A great question hung over the country. The events that would take place in the hills and valleys surrounding Lawrence would go far in answering it: Would the institution of slavery embark on a westward march?

It did not. It was here that slavery met its brick wall. It did so because it was here that beliefs first turned to blood.

We are excited that our area now has a group — the leadership of the Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area — that will work to tell that story everyday. It is important work.

But it seems that such a story should have a special day on the national stage. We believe now is the time for community leaders to come together and begin planning and advocating for such a day.

Lawrence and the area should strive to be the center of national attention once again. The community ought to come together and do something that will cause the nation to take notice of the unique role this area played in one of the most pivotal moments in American history.

Who knows what such a day may entail? Perhaps, Lawrence would play host to a Presidential address. Maybe, the community would stage a gala that would serve as the kickoff to the national commemoration. Or, likely, it is an idea that we haven’t thought of yet. But if we vow to put our minds to it, we’ll come up with the idea.

After all, this area has certainly sparked a grand idea before.


Scott Drummond 8 years, 9 months ago

"After all, this area has certainly sparked a grand idea before."

As the article points out, it was not the area that was responsible, it was the progressive and righteous conviction of its founders that made Lawrence special.

Lawrence remains an island of progressive and righteous conviction in a sea of middle America conservatism, but for how long? Our town has changed radically in the last 30 years (many would argue not for the better.) Will Lawrence remain a special place? What have you done to ensure that it does?

FarmerBoy 8 years, 9 months ago

Congratulations, Lawrence! I'm sure the entire nation and the world has a great appreciation for this positive conviction and outlook.
There's something special about good people from Kansas (not including the bad this is really good news for everyone!

BigPrune 8 years, 9 months ago

Gimme a break Scott. Lawrence doesn't have the values of 150 years ago. Besides, Republicans were the ones against slavery.

Scott Drummond 8 years, 9 months ago

"Gimme a break Scott. Lawrence doesn't have the values of 150 years ago. Besides, Republicans were the ones against slavery."

I agree, Lawrence does not have the values of 150 years ago. That was kind of my point. The more folks like you Lawrence accumulates, the less special it becomes.

blindrabbit 8 years, 9 months ago

Prune: The Republican Party (GOP) of Lincoln of 150 years ago ceased to exist during the 1960's when the country flipped. The Southern slavery ridden ideas of the old Southern Democratic party became the mantra of the Repubs., as a result of the Great Society of LBJ. Since that time, I like many Republicans feel we have been driven away by ultra social Conservatives that seem beholding to a warped fundamentalist Christianity. The new party which I call BOWMP (Bitter Old White Mens Party) is very vocal now, blaming social woes of Obama and the more progressive among us; problem is the demographics of the changing population has sealed their fate.

Lawrence has long been the lone beacon of progressiveness in Kansas, how long will that last is questionable as evidenced by some of the comments posted in LJW.

BigPrune 8 years, 9 months ago

I bet I've lived in Lawrence longer than most who write on here. So, who exactly is the outsider? I know a far greater number of people who are longtime Lawrencians who think much like me. Is 50 years not long enough? Why try to revert to the past, to shrink the population, yet demand major city type services? All this mindset has brought is higher taxes, higher unemployment, vacancies, and a 'Lawrence is bad to businesses' reputation.

blindrabbit 8 years, 9 months ago

Barry: You no-doubt blame most of the tax increases on liberal (I call Progressive) Democrats. But explain the large deficits that Reaganomics has laid on the country; of course Bush 1 & 2 happily danced this tune as well. "Trickle down" became "trickle up" for those that had influence. And what about the off-budget funding to support unsubstantiatable wars in Iraq and Afganistan. Seems like Billy Boy at least balanced the budget.

BOWMP's seem to feel the need to larder their pantry now and let the rest of the country suffer the later consequences of delayed deficits, while they satisfy their own needs.

Being a fiscal conservative myself, a progressive Republican, a Viet Vet and a 60 year resident of Lawrence, how can you feel that the Republican Party of today can make any claim to being "fiscally conservative".

blindrabbit 8 years, 9 months ago

Barry: Forgot to add I'm also "white" if that makes any real difference!

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