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From the Director: Learning from the Past

From the Director: Learning from the Past

December 23, 2020

Harry Truman once said, “There is nothing new in the world except the history you do not know.” It may have been these words that kindled a burning desire in me to learn from and to understand the past.

Along these lines, the Kansas City Star recently decided to study its own history. In particular, how it reported—or failed to report—news involving people of color and how that has impacted our community. This extensive series is called, “The Truth in Black and White.” If you haven’t already, I would highly recommend reading the articles in this series. What does it mean when the “newspaper of record” reports some stories and not others? Does it change the way we think about our home and those with whom we share this community? 

If you’re interested in going even deeper into this subject, the Library may be able to help. Several years ago, MCPL purchased the complete archive of the Kansas City Star, going back to 1880. All you need is your Library card to access articles from the paper’s very beginning to today. If you’re interested in looking at a digital version of the Kansas City Star that looks like the printed newspaper, we have that too.

These resources allow you to dive further into news mentioned in the series and beyond. If you’d like to compare the Kansas City Star’s coverage to other national newspapers, check out the Historical Newspapers collection, which reaches back to the 1800s. You can also take a look at the Library’s online newspaper collection.

Introspection is difficult. I think it’s commendable that The Kansas City Star is considering its past and the impact today.


Steven V. Potter
MCPL Director & CEO

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