Kent Chronicles, in essence, is a discussion based learning circle that meets on the first Thursday and the Saturday after the first Thursday of every month. We talk through a variety of topics that have effected the world, the nation, and the town of Kent. Often the focus is on a few years, for example 1960-1965, and the big events or ideas that had an impact. Occasionally, the topic will be more focused like the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, which had national significance but was also was hugely influential on our region and town. (Did you know that the City of Kent petitioned to host the World’s Fair in Kent? We have a copy of the document at the museum!)
The group is composed of anyone who is willing to come engage in the discussion. We encourage students over the 4th grade to come learn alongside older generations that lived through the events. The larger the pool of participants, the more perspectives, and the more interesting the conversation!
The Chronicles discussion is supplemented with a number of different items. Each month we create a PowerPoint that includes pictures and video clips that help to elicit responses and shape the dialogue. Additionally, we provide a Chronicles packet that includes more information, such as quotes, newspaper clippings, pictures, and political cartoons. The goal is to help participants develop a fuller understanding of events through seeing, reading, hearing, and discussing.
Kent Chronicles convenes on the first Thursday AND the Saturday after the first Thursday of every month around the dining room table of the Bereiter House at 855 East Smith Street from 11 am until 12:30.
The Chronicles will meet May 2nd and 4th. We are going to be discussing two progressive Amendments to the Constitution which demonstrate the best and worst of the progressive reform era.
On one hand, the 19th Amendment guaranteed women the right to vote. It was the realization of the struggle started before the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention. Achieving the vote was step toward the equality promised in the Constitution but what did gaining the vote mean? What did women in that first election do with the vote in 1920? What about the election after that? Regardless, the 19th Amendment did demonstrate the Progressives ideas of equality and fairness.
On the other hand was the 18th Amendment, known as the Volstead Act, better known as Prohibition. For thirteen years, the United States was, in theory, a dry land as the manufacture, sale, and transport of liquor was outlawed. This was a Progressive victory! Alcohol caused many social ills and the only answer was obviously to force the public to act more virtuously by outlawing the cause of the disorder. Only it didn’t work that way. For lots of people, Prohibition was a joke to be quietly ignored. For others it was a way to make money and the mob experienced growth by supplying thirsty Americans at speakeasies or at home. Others learned to distill alcohol at home, sometimes to deadly effect. Prohibition showed the Progressives ideas of equality and fairness, but in a much more intrusive and some would say dictatorial way.
We are going to talk about both at Kent Chronicles and talk about how both amendments influenced Kent. At least one of the influential suffragettes was a native of the Pacific Northwest and the newspapers had several interesting stories about liquor in the valley.
I am excited for this discussion and hope you will join us!