Generations after the Great Depression, Kansans still define themselves and rural communities largely in the same terms their grandparents and great-grandparents once used–“hard-working, close-knit, loyal, and faithful.” But the dynamics have changed. Fewer Kansans are growing up on farms. More than 70 percent of people in Kansas now identify themselves as living in urban communities. Today, rural Kansans face new challenges–aging communities and fewer services. This presentation examines historical aspects of Kansas during the 1930s to better understand our rural communities today. Discover what communities did to survive and thrive in times of hardships, what it means to be rural, and how that’s changed over time. Are we still full of the dirt, grit, and Jell-O salad that defined our ancestors?
This program is presented by Beccy Tanner, who currently teaches Kansas history classes at Wichita State University and works as a freelance writer.
“Dirt, Grit, and Jell-O Salad — How We Survived the Great Depression” is part of Humanities Kansas‘s Crossroads Conversations Catalog, featuring presentations, discussions, and workshops designed to spark conversations in the Sunflower State. It is also part of the Crossroads: Change in Rural America initiative anchored by the Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition of the same name. Crossroads promotes fresh thinking about the history, culture, and future of Kansas.
Tanner’s presentation will be presented via Zoom and will also be broadcast via Facebook Live on the Old Depot Museum’s Facebook page. The recording will be available on Facebook for two weeks following the event.