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The state of Kansas is celebrating its sesquicentennial this year, also known as its 150th birthday. Jay Price, director of the public history program at Wichita State University, looks at how Kansas' past has shaped its present course.
Announcer: In what might arguably be one of the more quiet milestone birthday celebrations in its history, Kansas has turned 150 years old this year. Jay Price, director of the public history program at Wichita State University, comments on the birth of the Sunflower State.
Price: "1861 set in motion the creation of Kansas as it is today. It begins our story in many ways."
Announcer: Price says the 150th birthday of Kansas gives us an opportunity to think about what might have been. He says in the territorial period, Kansas extended from the Missouri River to the Rocky Mountains, and places such as Pike's Peak were actually in Kansas. This is Joe Kleinsasser at Wichita State University.
Sound bite #1
Price says at one time, Kansas was predominantly Indian territory. The sound bite is 14 seconds and the outcue is "larger government policy."
Price: "Before we were Bleeding Kansas, we were actually a part of Indian territory. And it's important to remember that this was a place where various tribes met or were brought to as part of larger government policy."
Sound bite #2
Price explains the early lines that differentiated the North and South during the Bleeding Kansas era. The sound bite is 16 seconds and the outcue is "to the North."
Price: "I tend to think of Bleeding Kansas as a rivalry between the cities of the Missouri River, which lean South, places such as Leavenworth and Atchison, and those of the Kansas or Kaw River, such as Topeka and Lawrence, who tended to lean to the North."
Sound bite #3
Price says Kansas territory used to include much of Colorado. The sound bite is 17 seconds and the outcue is "in Kansas."
Price: "The 150th allows us an opportunity to think about what might have been. In the territorial period, Kansas extended from the Missouri River to the Rocky Mountains, and places such as Pike's Peak were actually in Kansas."
Sound bite #4
Price says geographically, Kansas is the part of the nation where everything meets. The sound bite is 15 seconds and the outcue is "as well."
Price: "Kansas is that part of the nation where the north, the south, the east, the west, the Midwest and the Southwest, all meet. We share elements of all of those regions and yet we're distinct from each of those regions as well."
Sound bite #5
Price says the image of Kansas is one of agriculture and small towns. The sound bite is 15 seconds and the outcue is "lend themselves to tourism."
Price: "In terms of image, we are a state of agriculture. We're a state of small towns. And those are communities that very much help us in our local economy, but don't always lend themselves to tourism."
Sound bite #6
Price says tourism is about logistics. The sound bite is 17 seconds and the outcue is "part of the story."
Price: "A lot of tourism is actually about logistics. It's about finding things for people to do. It's about providing opportunities for eating out. And it's also providing opportunities, for example, to get out on to the land for public land access as well, is part of the story."
Sound bite #7
Price says the future of Kansas is yet to be determined. The sound bite is 30 seconds and the outcue is "yet to be written."
Price: "They used to say as goes Kansas, so goes the nation. At one time, Kansas was the embodiment of what it meant to be American. Today in a global world, Kansas, as well as the Great Plains as a whole, is going to have to rethink what it means to be important on the global stage. Whether that means we're going to be in high-tech or, as some have said, the Saudi Arabia of wind, that's a story yet to be written."