Chautauqua offered education, entertainment

PC-booker t washington.jpg

 By MICHAEL BUSHNELL
Northeast News
August 28, 2013

Chautauqua was a popular educational movement of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries in America. Chautauqua assemblies expanded and spread throughout the rural United States until the mid-1920s. When the Chautauqua came to town, it brought entertainment and culture for the whole community, with speakers, teachers, musicians and specialists of the day. Former President Theodore Roosevelt once stated that the Chautauqua is “the most American thing in America.”

This undivided back postcard shows “A view on the Chautauqua Grounds, Clarinda, Iowa. Booker T. Washington speaking.”

Chautauqua was popular with residents of isolated rural areas because they had a strong thirst for knowledge, in the absence of any resident theatre or opera house companies or universities, for example. By the mid-1920s when Circuit Chautauquas were at their peak, they appeared in more than 10,000 communities to audiences of more than 45 million people. By about 1940, the Tent Chautauquas had run their course and disappeared.

Booker T. Washington was a popular Chautauqua speaker and always drew large crowds of people. Washington was born into slavery in 1854 in Hale’s Church, Va. Always curious, Washington’s hunger for education was relentless; he paid for his own college education at the Hampton Agricultural Institute in Virginia by working as their custodian. Washington went on to become a university professor at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, eventually passing away in November of 1915.

One of the many quotes from Washington’s book “Up From Slavery” gives some insight to the man: “I will not say that I became discouraged, for as I now look back over my life I do not recall that I ever became discouraged over anything that I set out to accomplish. I have begun everything with the idea that I could succeed, and I never had much patience with the multitudes of people who are always ready to explain why one cannot succeed.”

Comments are closed.

  • Kansas City’s old Convention Hall

    June 21st, 2016
    by

    Northeast News This week, we feature a rare advertising postcard showing the old Convention Hall, which was destroyed by fire in early April 1900 — just 90 days prior to


    Century-old view of KC from river

    June 14th, 2016
    by

    Northeast News Kansas City’s riverfront on the Missouri River is pictured in this old, turn-of-the-century postcard published by The Southwest News Company of Kansas City.


    Viaduct connected Kansas cities

    June 7th, 2016
    by

    Northeast News This postcard, titled “United States Troops Crossing Intercity Viaduct, Kansas City, Mo.,” shows what seems to be an unending column of Army troops crossing the then-newly constructed bridge


    ‘The great white city’

    June 1st, 2016
    by

    Northeast News Electric Park was named for the 100,000 electric light bulbs outlining its buildings and rides.


    Thoroughly modern courthouse

    May 25th, 2016
    by

    Northeast News This linen postcard, showing north and west sides of what at the time was the new Jackson County Courthouse and the intersection of 12th and Oak streets, was


  • Summer brings rain, sometimes flooding

    May 17th, 2016
    by

    Northeast News As we approach the summer rain season, it is fitting that we run a postcard showing a scene in the West Bottoms during the great flood of 1908:


    Staley’s Educated Twins

    May 10th, 2016
    by

    Northeast News Romeo and Aureo are identical twin pigs. They have traveled all over the country and are well educated.


    Roses are red … and pink, and white …

    May 3rd, 2016
    by

    Northeast News Between October 21-24 of 1864, the area we now know as Loose Park was the scene of one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War west of


    ‘One of the greatest playgrounds in America’

    April 26th, 2016
    by

    Northeast News The description inside this vintage 1930s Curt Teich linen postcard folder of the Lake of the Ozarks reads, “Lake of the Ozarks is formed by a huge dam


    Those were some postcards! (And that’s no exaggeration)

    April 19th, 2016
    by

    Northeast News William H. “Dad” Martin of Ottawa, Kan., is considered to be the father of the exaggerated postcard.


  • Local Weather

  • What’s Happening

    Highlights from the June 23 Candidate Forum at SVN

    By Paul Thompson Northeast News June 24, 2016 KANSAS CITY, Missouri – The Northeast News and its readers learned a […]

    Bikes, Buggies and good times

    Northeast News June 23, 2016 KANSAS CITY, Missouri – Eleos Coffee rolled out their first annual Bikes and Buggies show […]

    Body found near Central Bank Monday identified

    Northeast News June 23, 2016 KANSAS CITY, Missouri – The body of a man found early Monday morning near the […]