On February 15-16, 2019, the University of Missouri’s Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy, with sponsorship from the Missouri Humanities Council – both partners in the Bicentennial Alliance – convened the first-ever international conference reassessing the national crisis (1818-1821) that erupted when Missouri applied for statehood. The best papers presented at the conference are being developed into a book, to be published by the University of Missouri Press in conjunction with the bicentennial commemorations in 2021. Entitled A Fire-Bell in the Past: Reassessing the Missouri Crisis at 200, this lively volume of new scholarship is edited by Profs. Jeffrey L. Pasley (MU/Kinder Institute) and John Craig Hammond (Pennsylvania State University).
Celebrate Wildwood is the City of Wildwood’s annual celebration, held in commemoration of its anniversary of incorporation. This year the event (postponed from October 2020) marks the City’s 25th anniversary and will be held April 23-24, 2021. This is a large-scale public event with a parade, kids’ activities, local authors, live music, food and drinks, local organizations booths and demonstrations, Civil War reenactors, a Scouting area, and an art festival. The event is all about the community!
One of this year’s highlights is the City’s Historic Preservation Commission booth where current residents can learn about the area’s past and their heritage. The Commission has been working with a local author to compile a book on the history of Wildwood from pre-history through 2020. This year, the final chapter will be added and the book will be debuted at the festival
Voices of Arrow Rock, Spirit of the Missouri Frontier is a theatrical production bringing to life voices of early Arrow Rock citizens whose experiences help us understand what people’s lives were like during the early to mid-19th century on the Missouri frontier. These voices transcend time and geography and help give a platform for underrepresented voices of the past. The citizens include George Fenwick and Lewis, an enslaved man, Burton and Nancy Lawless, Sophia Murrell and Mary, an enslaved woman, and Adeline and Frank Switzler, former enslaved persons, freed by emancipation. In addition to the performances, a book with the script and insights from the producer and playwrights will be published. Friends of Arrow Rock as the sponsoring organization is partnering with the Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre and the University of Missouri-Columbia Department of Theatre to develop and present the project. The Arrow Rock Premiere is August 7, 2021 at 10 am in the Christian Church on Main Street. Details about additional performance dates and locations will follow.
The Alexander Doniphan Community History Project seeks to create an anthology of essays that chronicle the life, times, and influence of Alexander William Doniphan (1808-1887). Contributors of any age were welcome to participate by submitting original written work on important aspects of Doniphan’s life, social histories that depict life in the time of Alexander Doniphan, and essays that illustrate Doniphan’s influence today and his lasting significance. The project is now at the editorial stage. The project is community-based and volunteer lead, with help from Mid-Continent Public Library and Woodneath Press.
If successful, this pilot project will serve as a model for a way for people to celebrate and commemorate Missouri’s bicentennial driven by community-sourced submissions.