Today is Kansas Day, the state's 157th birthday. It was on January 29th, 1861 that Kansas was admitted to the Union as a free state, becoming the 34th star on the American flag. Today, in collaboration with the Kansas Historical Society, KPR begins a series of essays profiling some of the state's most important people from the past 150 years. For our first installment in this occasional series, Commentator Bobbie Athon introduces us to one of the most controversial figures in the early history of Kansas.
Commentator Bobbie Athon is a writer and public information officer for the Kansas Historical Society in Topeka. She will be bringing us more essays about important Kansans in the coming months, as part of an occasional series here on Kansas Public Radio.