Kinder Institute Joins Statewide Bicentennial Alliance

Thanks to the hard work of our longtime collaborator Dr. Steve Belko, Executive Director of the Missouri Humanities Council, the Kinder Institute has officially entered a statewide alliance of six nonprofit organizations and government agencies mutually committed to developing educational, community outreach, and scholarly research projects and events related to the Missouri Bicentennial. Representatives of each alliance organization joined Missouri First Lady and Kinder Institute affiliate faculty member Prof. Sheena Greitens, Missouri State Senator Mike Kehoe, and Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft on the evening of January 8 for a signing ceremony held at the Governor’s Mansion in Jefferson City.

Kinder Institute contributions to Bicentennial programming will commence more or less immediately, with faculty and graduate students, as well as undergraduates in Prof. Christa Dierksheide’s Spring 2018 “History in the Public” seminar, collaborating throughout the semester on producing content for the Missouri Humanities Council’s “Missouri History, Struggle for Statehood” traveling exhibit.

In addition, the Institute will bring major scholars of nineteenth-century America from around the globe to Columbia for a series of academic workshops (2019) and public talks (2020) that will culminate in the 2021 publication of a multi-authored collection of historical essays on the Missouri Crisis of 1818-1821, to be released on the Institute’s Studies in Constitutional Democracy book series with University of Missouri Press. Prof. Pasley, who will spearhead these efforts, described how the Kinder Institute “was created for” this kind of ambitious project and how it marks a long overdue scholarly re-engagement with a defining moment in the complex, turbulent history of the early United States.

“The Missouri Crisis of 1818-1821 was one of the watershed events of the early 19th century,” said Pasley, “the end of the founding era and the moment slavery became a national issue for the first time. The last major book on the Missouri Crisis was published over 60 years ago, though, so the state has the opportunity to provide a much-needed reexamination of this seminal event in its own and the nation’s history. Done well, such a volume will be read and consulted for generations by anyone with a serious interest in the history of American slavery, westward expansion, and the bloody sectional conflict they spawned, the consequences of which we still live with today.”

“We’re excited,” he added, “that it will be Missourians, including the Kinder Institute, who will get to help put Missouri’s major national moment back on the map of American history.”

Joining the Kinder Institute and Missouri Humanities Council on the state’s Bicentennial Alliance are the Missouri Council for History Education, Missouri History Museum, Missouri State Archives, and The State Historical Society of Missouri.