• Jews:1 Missouri Nazis:0

    You can complain about the Missouri Legislature, but you cannot accuse them in the lack of the sense of humor. Rick Hellman, the heir to Hellman Mayonnaise fortune editor of the Kansas City Jewish Chronicle reports that the Missouri legislators passed a bill meant to tweak the Springfield chapter of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement.

    In the beginning of the year local news reported that a neo-Nazi group has joined the state’s “Adopt-A-Highway” volunteer litter pickup program, taking advantage of a free speech court fight won four years ago by the Ku Klux Klan. Now they will be picking up litter along the “Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel Memorial Highway.”

    Rabbi Heschel was a steadfast supporter of the Civil Rights and marched along with Martin Luther King in the Selma Civil Rights March.

    Heschel’s concern and action have been pivotal in two issues: race and peace. On the first, many will remember the picture of his striding alongside Martin Luther King, Jr., in the protest march at Selma, Alabama. Mrs. Coretta Scott King, in recalling that event, called Heschel “one of the great men of our time.” Rabbi Heschel described the march in these words: “For many of us the march from Selma to Montgomery was both protest and prayer. Legs are not lips, and walking is not kneeling. And yet our legs uttered songs. Even without words, our march was worship. I felt my legs were praying.”

    Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel is seen 2nd from the right during the Selma March

    Said Missouri Nazis: “Oy Gevalt!”


    View Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel Memorial Highway in a larger map

    Read about it: HB1197

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  • Old Photos: Kansas City Dragettes

    I feel a lack of historicity on this blog lately, so here are some photos of the Dragettes – Kansas City’s all-girl hot rod club.

    ©Time, Francis Miller

    I didn’t find anything relevant about the Dragettes but there is a newspaper article about the KCTA- Kansas City Timing Association which conducted the drag races at that time.

    It all began in 1955 when Eugene M. Pond, then Kansas City’s chief of detectives who now is chief of police in Wichita , became alarmed at the menacing hot-rod situation here. Motorcycle patrolmen were having a tough time coping with wildcatting, illegal drag racing, on city streets. High speed chases of 100 miles an hour or more were common occurrences.

    Pond held a series of meetings with motor-happy youngsters that resulted in formation of the timing accociation. The Kansas City Southern Lines offered a plot of land for $2 a year. A loan of $70,000, to be repaid from profits of the strip , was obtained from a patron group and a contractor agreed to contribute half the cost of grading and paving.

    Caught in a swirl of public enthusiasm, the strip was finished two months sooner than planned and suddenly, nocturnal cat and mouse episodes between dragsters and police largely disappeared. The situation has remained relatively the same ever since.

    ©Time, Francis Miller
    ©Time, Francis Miller
    ©Time, Francis Miller
    ©Time, Francis Miller
    ©Time, Francis Miller
    ©Time, Francis Miller
    ©Time, Francis Miller
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  • Comrade Rockstar

    Dean Reed was an American singer who was more popular in the Latin America and the USSR than in the USA. He would have turned 70 today. Because he was a communist sympathizer he was one of a few English-speaking performers approved to entertain the Soviet people. I remember as a child playing his records and watching him on TV and in cheesy Easter European Westerns. I read that he was sometimes referred to as the “Red Elvis” due to his popularity, I personally never heard anyone say that, but at the time I didn’t even know who the real “Not-Red” Elvis was, so I wouldn’t get the reference anyway.

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  • Old Newspapers: Cuban Missile Crisis

    I wasn’t really impressed by the new TV series “The Kennedys”, which briefly touched on many controversies, rumors and conspiracy theories surrounding the Kennedy family. The only new revelation for me was the fact that both President and Mrs.Kennedy were receiving amphetamine shots from Dr.Feelgood. One of the more interesting episodes covered the Kennedy Administration handling the Cuban Missile Crisis in October, 1962.

    The true story of the Cuban Missile Crisis may not as glamorous as it’s generally portrayed in the American official history books, but what’s not in dispute is the fact that during these weeks in the fall of 1962 was the closest the world have ever been to a nuclear war. I wanted to see the headlines the American people were seeing in their daily newspapers, so I went to the library and scanned some microfilm. However, the most telling find was probably this article, talking about the dedication of the first of the 612 nuclear fallout shelters planned in Kansas City. The article is readable, click on it if you need it magnified. Imagine the mood in the city and the country, not even 20 years since the WWII, having to prepare for another confrontation.

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  • Old Photos: Ricky Nelson

    Some photos of Ricky Nelson in Wichita, KS taken in 1958.

    © Time Inc.Ralph Crane
    Rock singer/actor Ricky Nelson (L) singing & playing guitar w. his lead guitarist James Burton on stage overlooking 5,000 rapt young fans during concert.
    Rock singer/actor Ricky Nelson (L) singing & playing guitar w/ his lead guitarist James Burton on stage overlooking 5,000 rapt young fans during concert.© Time Inc.Ralph Crane
    Rock singer/actor Ricky Nelson signing autographs for mob of young female fans pressed against fence at airport upon his arrival for a concert.
    Rock singer/actor Ricky Nelson signing autographs for mob of young female fans pressed against fence at airport upon his arrival for a concert.© Time Inc.Ralph Crane
    Rock singer/actor Ricky Nelson (R) singing into mike next to his lead guitarist James Burton on stage overlooking 5,000 rapt young fans during concert.
    Rock singer/actor Ricky Nelson (R) singing into mike next to his lead guitarist James Burton on stage overlooking 5,000 rapt young fans during concert.© Time Inc.Ralph Crane
    Fans going wild in hotel for autograph from Pop Singer Ricky Nelson.
    Fans going wild in hotel for autograph from Pop Singer Ricky Nelson.© Time Inc.Ralph Crane
    Rock singer/actor Ricky Nelson signing autographs w. teenage female fan in bkgrd. at airport upon his arrival for a concert.© Time Inc.Ralph Crane

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