The Midwest has come to be synonymous with certain aspects of America’s cultural history. From waves of grain to hoedowns to Grant Wood’s classic pitchfork-toting couple in “American Gothic.”
A group of historians meeting this week in Grand Rapids, Mich., say that is only a part of the story. Compared to the intellectual Northeast, literary South and innovative West Coast, they say the Midwest is too often ignored – its rich landscape and cultural diversity left out of elementary school classrooms, while the Gold Rush and Liberty Bell get the spotlight.
Historians Jon Lauck and Pamela Riney-Kehrberg speak with Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson about the Midwest and what lessons its history has for the rest of the U.S.
- Jon Lauck, historian and senior adviser to Sen. John Thune (R-SD). His latest book is “The Lost Region: Toward a Revival of Midwestern History.” He tweets @jlauck1941.
- Pamela Riney-Kehrberg, professor and chair of the department of history at Iowa State University.