My Visit to National Museum of African American History and Culture

On May 23, 2017 I visited the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the newest part of the Smithsonian Museums in Washington, DC.

Despite what I had heard about the impossibility of getting admission tickets for less than three months in advance, I was able to get a same-day ticket online at 6:30 AM that morning. They were all gone by 8:30 that morning. There are also “walk up tickets” available at 1:00 PM until they are gone. Continue reading

The Commencement Address I Sorta Gave

Not surprising, I was never invited to give a real,  official commencement address on the Quad or in the basketball arena, so I wrote my own for my capstone seminars in 2002, 2007, and 2010.

Congratulations on completing your college education. You might not think graduating from college is a big deal, I didn’t think so in 1973 either, but your parents and society thinks so. So do I. You are among the top quarter of American society who have either been given, or made the opportunity for,  at least four years of post-high school study.

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Notes and Links about Lorraine Hansberry and A RAISIN IN THE SUN

The next “film community discussion” will be Monday, May 8 at 7 PM at the Boone Home (4th Street next to Second Baptist) in Columbia,Missouri  to hear reactions to “A Raisin in the Sun” that will be playing at the  Maplewood Barn Theater April 27 thru April 30  and May 4th thru May 7 at 8 PM.

For tickets,

Below are links to several interviews and reviews that I enjoyed.

A Raisin in the Sun: An Introduction

An introduction to the play, with interviews with Phylicia Rashad, the actors, and a number of scholars of Lorraine Hansberry and African American literature. This video guide includes commentary on the play’s path to Broadway, biographical information about the Hansberry family’s fight for housing, the play’s cultural significance and Hansberry’s lasting legacy.


Author unknown, “To be Young, Gifted, and Black”


A mini documentary


There are several full texts of the play online. Here is one:


Review of the original 1959 Broadway play from the New York TIMES.


Review of 2016 London performance from The Guardian

Earth Day: Effective in promoting environmental protection?

I like nature. I hike and have a garden. I know the Missouri state flower is the hawthorn and the state tree is the flowering dogwood. I like to drink clean water and breathe clean water. I buy dolphin safe tuna.  Call me a crazy environmentalist, if you must. But wait: I  doubt the efficacy of Earth Day.  I’ve been dubious about it since April 22, 1970 despite spending several days with the late-Senator Gaylord Nelson, the founder of Earth Day, and bringing him to Columbia in 1997. Earth Day did not “start it all.”

Below is my op ed published in the St. Louis Post Dispatch in April 2010. Continue reading

Playgrounds, Federalism, and the future of Public Schools

On Wednesday, the U.S. is set to hear a Trinity Lutheran v Comer, involving a Columbia church but having national and far reaching implications. The tension between religious freedom, the establishment of religion and aid to church-related schools have been simmering in the United States since the 1960s. Organized religions and political interests can shift quickly on this issue. Continue reading

It’s Closing Time at the Soup Kitchen

This evening at CoMo Loaves and Fishes was quiet with at least seven guys with no place to go on a cold rainy night staying inside the door after 6:30. Someone started singing “It’s Closing Time” by Green Day which was soon modified to

“Open the door and make us go out into the cold …
It’s Closing Time . . .
You don’t have a home
But you can’t stay here.”

I appreciated their cooperativeness but it still hurts that I could not (or did not) do anything to prepare them for the night.

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