OVERVIEW: Missouri Pulitzer Prizes Centennial Campfires Activities

Presented by:
Missouri Humanities Council
Current Initiative: Centennial Campfires National Partner: The Pulitzer Prizes Local Partner: Colleges and Universities, K-12 Institutions, Nonprofits, Other Subject: Art/Photography, Cross-Cultural Understanding, History, Journalism, Other, Performing Arts, Varies Audience: All, Educators, K-12, Young Adult, Youth/Teen

Missouri Humanities Council Pulitzer Prizes Centennial Campfires program included a multi-part project comprised of lectures, panel discussions, traveling exhibitions, and high- school workshops that were freely accessible in three urban centers around the state: Columbia, Kansas City, and St. Louis. This project featured a cross-section of Pulitzer Prize-winning subjects from investigative journalism, feature writing, editorial cartooning, and playwriting.


(February 15, 2016) St. Louis, MO

In conjunction with the Repertory Theater of St. Louis’s debut of Disgraced, which ran from February 10 – March 6, 2016, the Missouri Humanities Council and The Repertory Theater of St. Louis hosted a Talk Theatre panel, featuring an in-depth discussion of the play’s themes—particularly Islamophobia and the self- identity of Muslim-American citizens post-9/11. 350 people attended the panel held on the Theatre’s Mainstage.  The panel was comprised of:

  • Ayad Akhtar – Actor, screenwriter, novelist, and playwright
  • Faizan Syed – Executive Director of the Council on American Islamic Relations
  • Ghazala Hayat – Former Board President of the Islamic Foundation and current faculty member at the St. Louis University Hospital School of Medicine
  • Seth Gordon (moderator), Associate Artistic Director of the Repertory Theatre


(April 6, 2016) Columbia, MO

In partnership with the Missouri Interscholastic Press Association (MIPA), MHC hosted a panel exhibition, lecture, and workshops at the annual “Journalism Day” (J-Day) celebration on the campus of the University of Missouri-Columbia. High school journalism students (representing nearly 60 schools across the state) attended an opening keynote before attending workshops on various aspects of journalism and student-run newspaper development. Thie event attracted over 1,565 participants and attendees.

At the same event, MHC hosted two 45-minute workshops for student-participants:

  • The first workshop, led by Dan Martin (cartoonist for the Louis Post-Dispatch) featured the work by Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonists Bill Mauldin and Daniel Fitzpatrick. Martin discussed how themes of civil rights and equality connect the cartoons of Fitzpatrick and Mauldin with the current era.
  • A second workshop, led by Randy Picht of the Reynolds Journalism Institute, consisted of a lecture entitled, “Pulitzer Prize for Best Use of Drones? It Could Happen” In addition to a drone test flight, Randy’s workshop was doubled to also discuss news literacy in the digital age.


(September 7, 2016) Columbia, MO

Eric Rauchway, Professor of History at the University of California-Davis, delivered the Pulitzer lecture at the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy in Columbia, MO. His topic was Charles Griffith Ross, a journalist and Missouri native whose St. Louis Post-Dispatch article “The Country’s Plight, What Can Be Done About It?” won the Pulitzer Prize in 1932. Introductory remarks were given by University of Missouri-Columbia Journalism professor Tim Vos. Rauchway’s lecture addressed the historical context and contemporary relevance of Ross’s article. This lecture had an attendance of 72.


(September 18, 2016) St. Louis, MO

A walking tour through the historic Soulard neighborhood in the city of St. Louis highlighted the Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Ulysses S. Grant by Professor William S. McFeely. Participants made stops throughout a two-mile long journey from the Old Courthouse in Downtown St. Louis  to Lyon Park at the Arsenal. Over 60 participants participated in this walk, learning about Grant’s time in St. Louis with the help of historical re- enactors and two lectures delivered at the rest/refreshment stop midway through. Program participants and presenters included:

  • Cameron Collins, Tour Guide and Lecturer (Distilled History Blog, Campbell House Museum docent)
  • Greg Wolk, Lecturer/Grant Scholar (Missouri’s Civil War Heritage Foundation)
  • Andrew Weil (Landmarks Association of Louis)
  • Andy Hahn (Executive DirectorCampbell House Museum)
  • Paula Zalar (Actress portraying Julia Dent Grant)
  • Skip Korte (Actor portraying Adolphus Busch)
  • Chris Powers (Actor portraying Albert Deane Richardson)


(September 20, 2016) Kansas City, MO

The University of Missouri – Kansas City served as the host site for a panel discussion of the real-time happenings inside The Kansas City Star newsroom in the hours, days, and weeks following the collapse of the skywalks at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Kansas City, Missouri on July 17, 1981. The disaster killed 114 people and injured 216 more. The coverage of the collapse by the staffs of The Kansas City Star and The Kansas City Times won a Pulitzer Prize in 1982. This panel presentation had more than 50 attendees.

Panel participants included:

  • Kevin Murphy (reporter/author)
  • Steve Paul (reporter)
  • Wayne Lischka (structural engineer contracted by The Star)
  • Steve Kraske, Moderator (KCUR, The Kansas City Star)


(November 4, 2016) St. Louis, MO

Inspired by the positive reception of his workshop during Journalism Day, Dan Martin delivered the “Yeatman Lecture” in partnership with the Mercantile Library in celebration of the life and works of Bill Mauldin and Daniel Fitzpatrick. Again, Martin drew on his wealth of knowledge in the area of editorial cartooning to trace the evolution of cartooning from Fitzpatrick to Mauldin to the present day with a special focus on elements of civil rights and equality depicted by both cartoonists. This lecture hosted 125 attendees.



As part of this project, MHC designed and produced seven panel exhibits for this project which were displayed at public events throughout the year to advertise and explore the Pulitzer Centennial Projects. These panels featured an overall calendar of events as well as program- specific content for general information on each of the Pulitzer-Prize winners featured. During the grant period, the banners were on display in St. Louis, Kansas City, and Colombia. They will continue to travel the state throughout 2017.


  • Repertory Theater of St. Louis
  • Missouri Interscholastic Press Association (MIPA)
  • The University of Missouri – Kansas City
  • Mercantile Library


  • St. Louis, MO
  • Kansas City, MO
  • Columbia, MO

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