Where the World Gathers to Celebrate Every Day

In 2017, National Day Calendar® began celebrating each state in the order they entered the union starting the week of Independence Day and ending with Hawaii. We highlight a small part of each states’ history, foods and the people who make up the state. Many states have their own state celebrations, and National Day Calendar’s observances in no way replace them. There’s so much more to explore, we can’t help but celebrate our beautiful country even more!

National Kansas Day - March 15

NATIONAL KANSAS DAY

On March 15, National Kansas Day recognizes The Sunflower State.

Magnificent herds of bison, elk, mule deer and antelope roamed the vast open plains populated by Cherokee, Osage, Pawnee and many other tribes. The region became a part of the United States with the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.

Generations of travelers came to Kansas as the country expanded. From the Corps of Discover in 1804 to the Pony Express, all the roads in Kansas seemed to point westward.

Railroads brought rapid settlement to the territory and with it the divisive decision for citizens regarding statehood. Would Kansas be free or slave? The debates turned so vicious, the territory earned the name “Bleeding Kansas” before entering the union as the 34th state and free.

With the railroads, ranching, livestock, and agriculture grew. The verdant, fertile soil of the Kansas farmland made the state the Breadbasket of the World.

Frank L. Baum even depicted farm life for one young girl named Dorothy in his books about a place called Oz. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz took the world by storm, especially when Hollywood put Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, Bert Lahr, Frank Morgan, Margaret Hamilton and Billie Burke in the cast. There was indeed no place like home, no place like Kansas.

One of the most critical decisions in Civil Rights history took place in Topeka, Kansas. The appeal of Brown vs. the Board of Education was brought before the Supreme Court of the United States in 1954. What had started with groups of parents and teachers in all-black schools in communities across the country had finally culminated in a final decision. Separate but equal violated the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

HOW TO OBSERVE

Discover the trails and byways of Kansas! Follow the Yellow Brick Road, find an adventure and history or explore the back roads. Dive into barbeque while listening to live jazz. Celebrate National Kansas Day with us! Use #NationalKansasDay to share on social media.

Bessie Anderson Stanley - Writer - (1879 - 1952)

Bessie Anderson Stanley’s often quoted poem, Success, submitted her definition of the word to a magazine and won first prize. Her popular verse has often been incorrectly credited to Ralph Waldo Emmerson, even by columnist Ann Landers in 1966. Eventually, in 1978, Landers printed the poem giving Bessie Anderson Stanley credit.

Clarence Batchelor - Cartoonist - (April 1, 1888 - September 5, 1977)

Pulitzer winning cartoonist, Clarence Batchelor worked for the New York Times, Daily News, New York Journal, New York Post and National Review. He was a contributing artist for several other publications.

Hattie McDaniel - Actress - (June 10, 1895 - October 26, 1952)

Hattie McDaniel became the first African American to earn an Oscar for her well-known role as Mammy in Gone with the Wind. The talented actress began her career in vaudeville and radio shows.

Buster Keaton - Actor - (October 4, 1895 - February 1, 1966)

After taking a tumble at six months old, young Joseph Keaton earned the nickname “Buster” from the magician, Harry Houdini. From that point forward, Buster Keaton would make a living falling with perfect comedic timing and talent.

Amelia Earhart - Aviator - (July 24, 1897 - January 5, 1939)

The first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic, Amelia Earhart captured the hearts and minds of Americans. Her story would become one of legend and speculation when her attempt to circumnavigate the globe ended in her mysterious disappearance of the Pacific ocean in 1937.

Aaron Douglas - Painter - (May 26, 1899 - February 2, 1979)

A prominent artist during the Harlem Renaissance, Aaron Douglas illustrated several novels, Harper’s and Vanity Fair. His murals can also be found in several places around the country including Fisk University in Nashville and Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York. Visit www.nga.gov to view Into Bondage (1936).

William Inge - Playwright - (May 3, 1913 - June 10, 1973)

William Inge earned a Pulitzer Prize for his play, Picnic. Depicting smalltown Kansas and the fears of failure. Inge would write several Broadway plays which would make it to the big screen including Bus Stop, starring Marilyn Monroe.

Gwendolyn Brooks - Poet - (June 7, 1917 - December 3, 2000)

Gwendolyn Brooks earned a Pulitzer Prize for her poem Annie Allen, making her the first black author to win the prize.

Charlie Parker - Saxophonist - (August 29, 1920 - March 12, 1955)

Legendary jazz saxaphonist, Charlie Parker helped to create the American sound called bebop.

Robert Altman - Film Director - (February 20, 1925 - November 20, 2006)

For over five decades, Robert Altman directed complex, ensemble films. The first to earn him an Academy nod was M*A*S*H in 1970. Of his seven Academy Award nominations, Altman never won but was recognized in 2006 by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences with an honorary award at the age of 81.

Harrison Ford - Actor - (July 13, 1942 -)

Known for his roles as Han Solo in the Star Wars saga and the adventurous but snake-dreading professor in the Indiana Jones series. Ford’s career took off in 1973 in a film called American Graffiti.

Basil Poledouris - Composer - (August 21, 1945 - November 8, 2006)

Known for his roles as Han Solo in the Star Wars saga and the adventurous but snake-dreading professor in the Indiana Jones series. Ford’s career took off in 1973 in a film called American Graffiti.

Lynette Woodard - Basketball coach - (August 12, 1959 - )

Hall of Fame basketball player and coach, Lynette Woodard lead the 1984 women’s U.S. Olympic team to gold. Woodard played several seasons of professional basketball overseas until returning to the U.S. where she became the first woman to play for the Harlem Globetrotters.

Melissa Etheridge - Singer/Songwriter - (May 29, 1961 - )

Grammy-winning artist, Melissa Etheridge built a solo career from the moment she broke onto the rock & roll scene. With a raspy blend of soulful folk rock and edgy blues, Etheridge continues to tour and create new powerful music.

There are over 1,500 national days. Don’t miss a single one. Celebrate Every Day® with National Day Calendar®!

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