The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

October 31, 2012

Historic march recreated by local actors to be part of PBS program Thursday

CAPALDO, Kan. — An historical event that drew national attention and was recreated this summer by local women will be featured on a PBS television program Thursday night.

A recreation of the 1921 Amazon Army march, which included one of the original marchers and descendents of other marchers, will air during Sunflower Journeys on KTWU Public Television at 7 p.m.

The original march, referred to by national media sources including the New York Times as an “army of Amazons,” took place on three cold days in December 1921. Thousands of women participated, pushed back by state militia with rifles.

 They were protesting the work of “scabs,” or replacement miners brought in to work the mines after their husbands, fathers, sons and brothers went on strike.

 On a hot, sticky day in July, Sunflower Journeys producer Jim Kelly directed local women in recreating the march and interviewed historian Randy Roberts, who curates Axe Library’s Special Collections at Pittsburg State University.

 He also worked with Linda Knoll, a Pittsburg historian and teacher who helped coordinate the event and whose grandmother, Maggie O’Nelio, was among the original marchers, to film vignettes on stage at Pittsburg High School.

The result of their work is “Girls to Women,” which will air in an 8-minute segment as part of a 30-minute program.

“The biggest challenge for this and every story is deciding what to include in a seven and a half to eight minute story. I can’t say everything there is to say about any subject in that amount of time, especially a story as complex as the march and the events that led up to it,” Kelly said. “Eight minutes is much longer than your average news story but it seems it’s never enough.”

The segment will include a re-enactment of Mary Skubitz, portrayed by Linda Foxwell, rallying the women to march, and an interruption by an angry sheriff, played by Hugh Campell, who warned the women to disperse, to no avail.

“We are excited that the story of these brave women will be shared with such a huge audience,” said Phyllis Bitner, one of the participants of the recreation who also heads up the Miners Hall Museum in nearby Franklin — the site of the original rallying point for the march. She will be watching the segment Thursday with her husband, Scotty, at home.

“I wonder if we — today’s women — would be as brave and dedicated. I know we are hardworking and dedicated, but can you imagine being in a new country, speaking many foreign languages and still coming together to fight for one cause? Amazing women,” she said.

Kelly said he was born and raised in Kansas and has a passion for telling its stories.

“We’ve been producing Sunflower Journeys for 25 years and all of us at KTWU feel it’s an honor to produce the series and tell stories about Kansas and Kansans,” Kelly said.


Text Only
Local News
  • Ballot issues dominate GOP event

    A maze of campaign yard signs lined the sidewalk at Big Spring Park, leading up to a line of local candidates for public office with rolled-up sleeves shaking hands with potential voters.

    July 24, 2014

  • Mike Pound: It’s time for some football

    The arrests, the announced suspensions and the contract disputes can mean only one thing: Somebody is ready for some football.

    July 24, 2014

  • Landfill opponents seek answers

    The Baxter Springs High School auditorium was filled with hundreds of Cherokee County residents Thursday night as Galena city officials answered questions and listened to comments regarding a proposed landfill at Riverton.

    July 24, 2014

  • Hanaway says leadership missing under Gov. Nixon

    When Republican gubernatorial hopeful Catherine Hanaway walked into the banquet room at Granny Shaffer’s Restaurant this week, she was greeted by some of Joplin’s more prominent business leaders.

    July 24, 2014

  • Neosho athletes bring home silver

    For 19-year-old Dominque Dechant, it was the trip of a lifetime. She and three other athletes from Neosho traveled last month to Newark, New Jersey, as part of the Missouri Special Olympics girls basketball team.

    July 24, 2014

  • r072414msw.jpg VIDEO: Carterville company expands to third generation

    What began as Ray “Mac” McCoy’s side job in his home 55 years ago has grown not only in square footage and reach, but in generations. This summer, a third generation took over the reins of MSW — Mac’s Specialty Woodwork — that now exceeds 90,000 square feet and creates custom furniture for chain restaurants coast to coast.

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • Shrine Bowl band, cheerleaders, players arrive in Pittsburg this week

    Band members were the first Kansas Shrine Bowl participants to arrive at Pittsburg State University this week.

    July 24, 2014

  • Galena council rescinds landfill decisions

    The Galena City Council voted Wednesday to rescind decisions it made two weeks ago regarding a proposed landfill at Riverton.

    July 23, 2014

  • Miami council waives fees for barbecue event

    The Miami City Council voted Tuesday to waive $3,750 in usage fees for Miami Elks Lodge No. 1320 for an upcoming barbecue championship at the Miami Fairgrounds.

    July 23, 2014

  • Carthage prepares for Marian Days

    The 37th annual Marian Days celebration will start in two weeks, and planning is well under way for the event that will bring tens of thousands of Catholics of Vietnamese descent to Carthage.

    July 23, 2014

Must Read


Amendment 8 in Missouri proposes a special lottery ticket to help fund state veterans homes. How will you vote?

For it.
Against it.
     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter