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Crossroads of Conflict: Contested Visions of Freedom and the Missouri-Kansas Border Wars

Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshops for School Teachers

Postmark Deadline: March 1, 2012

“Crossroads of Conflict: Contested Visions of Freedom and the Missouri-Kansas Border Wars” consists of two one-week NEH Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshops held during summer 2012 for eighty school teachers on the history and impact of the Missouri-Kansas border wars during the era of the American Civil War. The workshops explore issues and events that precipitated hostilities between settlers in Kansas and Missouri from the Missouri Compromise of 1820 through the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 and on through the Civil War era. Participants examine the struggles between the Kansas Jayhawkers and Missouri Bushwackers. Central to the discussion are two concepts of liberty—freedom to hold slaves versus freedom from slavery. The project utilizes a variety of landmark sites illuminating settlement, economic development, and pro- and anti-slavery activity in the area: Lecompton and Lawrence, Kansas, the John Wornall House, the Watkins Woolen Mill, the Steamboat Arabia Museum, the site of the battle of Westport, and the Jesse James farm. The staff includes project director Diane Mutti Burke (history, University of Missouri-Kansas City [UMKC]), program director Edeen Martin, and faculty members Nicole Etcheson (history, Ball State Univerity), LeeAnn Whites (history, University of Missouri-Columbia), Jonathan Earle (history, University of Kansas), Ann Rabb (archaeology, University of Kansas), Ethan Rafuse (military history, US Army Command and General Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth), and other faculty and staff from UMKC. Readings include collections of primary documents and scholarly writings by Etcheson, Mutti Burke, Earle, Michael Fellman, and T. J. Stiles. 

Dates: Kansas City, MO: June 24–29 or July 8–13
Grantee Institutions: Edeen Martin and Diane Mutti Burke, University of Missouri, Kansas City
Location: University of Missouri-Kansas City campus and historic sites including: Historic Lawrence, Kansas; Historic Westport, Missouri; Watkins Woolen Mill; John Wornall House; Jesse James Farm; Constitution Hall in Lecompton, Kansas; Steamboat Arabia Museum; Battle of Island Mound State Historic Site; Bates County Museum; and Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

About NEH Landmarks of American History: Workshops for School Teachers

The National Endowment for the Humanities is an independent grant-making agency of the federal government. As part of the NEH’s We the People program, we offer the following Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshops for School Teachers. NEH Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshops provide the opportunity for K-12 educators to engage in intensive study and discussion of important topics in American history and culture. These one-week programs will give participants direct experiences in the interpretation of significant historical and cultural sites and the use of archival and other primary evidence. Landmarks Workshops present the best scholarship on a specific landmark or related cluster of landmarks, enabling participants to gain a sense of the importance of historical places, to make connections between what they learn in the Workshop and what they teach, and to develop enhanced teaching or research materials.

Amount of Award

Teachers selected to participate will receive a stipend of $1,200 at the end of the residential Workshop session. Stipends are intended to help cover living expenses, books, and travel expenses to and from the Workshop location.


These projects are designed principally for classroom teachers and librarians in public, charter, independent, and religiously-affiliated schools, as well as home schooling parents. Other K-12 school personnel, including administrators, substitute teachers, and classroom professionals, are eligible to participate, subject to available space.

Teachers at schools in the United States or its territorial possessions or Americans teaching in foreign schools where at least 50 percent of the students are American nationals are eligible for this program. Applicants must be United States citizens, residents of U.S. jurisdictions, or foreign nationals who have been residing in the United States or its territories for at least the three years immediately preceding the application deadline. Foreign nationals teaching abroad at non-U.S. chartered institutions are not eligible to apply.

Applicants must complete the NEH application and provide all of the information requested to be considered eligible.

New this year: An individual may apply to up to two NEH Summer Programs in any one year (Landmarks Workshops, Summer Seminars, or Summer Institutes), but may participate in only one. Please note that eligibility criteria differ significantly between the Landmarks Workshops and the Seminars and Institutes Programs.

How to Apply

Please e-mail, telephone or send by U.S. Post a request for application information and expanded Workshop descriptions to the Landmarks directors listed here; in many cases, these materials will also be available on project Web sites. You may request information about as many Workshops as you like, and, as noted above, you may apply to up to two programs but participate in only one.