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‘State of Stories’ Explores Missouri’s 200-Year History

‘State of Stories’ Explores Missouri’s 200-Year History

August 20, 2020

The Story Center at Mid-Continent Public Library, in partnership with the University of Missouri Extension Community Arts Program, is proud to announce the launch of State of Stories,” a series of free public programs commemorating the Missouri Bicentennial. State of Stories will explore Missouri history and culture through storytelling performances and workshops, book conversations, lectures, a publication, and other activities. 

“This series is intended to showcase Missouri’s complex history through a tapestry of unique stories and perspectives,” said Dr. Mark Livengood, Director of The Story Center. “We’re very proud to be able to offer this program and are so thankful for our partners at MU Extension for helping make it all possible.”

Kicking off the series will be the program Shadowball: The Negro Baseball Leagues on Friday, August 28, at 6:30 p.m., which will be held via Facebook Live on The Story Center’s page ( Led by Emmy Award-winning storyteller Bobby Norfolk, the program will take viewers on a journey through the heyday of the Negro Baseball Leagues. The next morning at 10:30 a.m., Norfolk will lead a workshop via Zoom about the basics of historical storytelling.

State of Stories, which will continue through August 2021, will feature a variety of esteemed presenters and cover many aspects of the state’s history. Additional planned programs include:

Storytelling Performances

  • These Ozark Hills with journalist and Ozarks native Marideth Sisco
  • Stories from Family and Community (stories of the African American experience in Missouri) with Dr. Gladys Caines-Coggswell and Angela J. Williams, BA
  • True Tales of Tender Courage and Raucous Humor with renowned storyteller Beth Horner

Storytelling Workshops

  • Researching Historical Stories with journalist and storyteller Marideth Sisco
  • Community Collection of Stories with Dr. Gladys Caines-Coggswell, author of Stories from the Heart: Missouri’s African American Heritage, and Angela J. Williams, BA, one of the contributors
  • Digital Storytelling: Finding, Recording, Editing, and Polishing Your Story with Katina Bitsicas, Director of the Digital Storytelling Program at the University of Missouri-Columbia
  • From Fact to Fascination: Telling Tales of True Life and Historical Events with renowned storyteller Beth Horner


  • The Story of Latinos in Kansas City with Dr. Sandra Enriquez, Assistant Professor of History and Director of Public History Emphasis at UMKC
  • Huntin' Lore & Fishin' Stories with Dr. Mark Morgan, Associate Professor in the Department of Natural Resources at the University of Missouri–Columbia
  • Missouri Bicentennial Quilt and Missouri’s Dynamic Quilting Traditions and Innovations with Dr. Michael Sweeney, State Bicentennial Coordinator for the State Historical Society of Missouri, and Dr. Lisa Higgins, Director of the Missouri Folk Arts Program
  • The State of the State: Missouri Writers on Missouri with Dr. Sam Cohen, Associate Professor of English, University of Missouri-Columbia 
  • LGBTQ History of Kansas City with Dr. Austin Williams, Curriculum Coordinator at the Kansas Historical Society

Book Conversations

  • One by One: A Memoir of Love and Loss in the Shadows of Opioid America by Kansas City-based author Nicholas Bush
  • Abandoned Kansas City by Regina Daniel
  • Mrs. Bridge and Mr. Bridge by Evan Connell
  • The Story Center Poetry Anthology Book Launch: Facilitated by Jose Faus, this event showcases an anthology of work created by local poets and published by the Library’s in-house publishing division, Woodneath Press. The anthology will be edited by Faus, Marianne Kunkel, and Glenn North. 

Programs will be held either in-person or virtually based on the recommendations of public health officials. More information about State of Stories, including how to access virtual programs, is available at

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