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MANHATTAN, Kan. - In Blood and Politics: The History of the White Nationalist Movement from the Margins to the Mainstream, Leonard Zeskind provides a thorough and detailed, 542-page, historical account of the mainstreamers and vanguardists that make up the racist movement. Like Zeskind himself, a Kansas City native, many of the key players in this movement hail from our Midwestern state. Several key events surrounding these movements also happened in Kansas.

The 1982 Self-Reliance and Survival Expo is one of those Kansas events. In this setting, Christian Identity groups and Survivalists came together in Kansas City. Gun and knife shows are a tradition in the Midwest and South. This show welcomed survivalists, as well as a group called the Covenant the Sword and the Arm of the Lord (CSA). What could the CSA offer audiences at the Kansas City Self-Reliance and Survival Expo? "For a fee, white (Christian) men could shoot machine guns at pop-up figures, knock down doors, and battle around mock buildings while tires burned to simulate urban riots" (61). Hardly the self-defense tactics typically touted at gun and knife shows.

Likewise, the Midwestern farm crisis provided fertile ground for The Posse Comitatus in the 1980's. This group was considered mainstream enough to have their own time on Kansas airwaves. "Gale joined Wickstrom in this crusade, and taped 'sermons' by the two Posse leaders were regularly broadcast on a Dodge City, Kansas radio station in 1982" (74). With an audience of listeners, no wonder Kansas was the site for a Posse Comitatus training assembly. "That same year Gale and Wickstrom organized a paramilitary training session on a farm near Weskan, Kansas, just across the border from Colorado" (74).

TOPEKA, Kan. - Just as "Bleeding Kansas" was effectively the first theater of the Civil War, Kansas also played a major role in setting the stage for the Civil Rights struggles of the 1960s. Kansas' pivotal role in both of these historic struggles - or two parts of the same struggle - is underappreciated.

At 1515 Monroe Street in Topeka is a quiet, modest looking school building that seems to be barely noticed even by Topekans. It was formerly the Monroe Elementary School, but today it is a museum under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service, Secretary of the Interior. Monroe School was made a national monument by an act of Congress in 1992 in recognition of its importance as the site where the historic 1954 lawsuit Brown versus the Board of Education of Topeka originated. When the case reached the U.S. Supreme Court it led to the decision that legally ended segregation in public schools in America. The museum opened May 17, 2004, on the 50th anniversary of the decision. The museum now houses a multi-media exhibition that takes visitors through the history of the struggle against segregation with a lively presentation of pictures, artifacts, videos, movies and displays.

We have more! This page only lists entries in a particular month. We encourage you to look back through our archives in this same category.

The next archive is History: November 2009.

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This is an archive page containing all of the stories posted to Kansas Free Press in one particular topic in a particular month. These stories were published in the History: October 2009 section.

The next archive is History: November 2009.

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