Dennis Domer: Rockin’ and Rollin’ In the East Bottoms, 1890-1920

Most people don’t realize that Lawrence once had a vibrant red-light district in East Lawrence that spread to North Lawrence, the Pinkney Neighborhood, and above businesses on Massachusetts Street. The East Bottoms operated as the center of a big business run by Aunt Jane Williams, a formerly enslaved person and brilliant businesswoman. As Langston Hughes noted in his autobiography, Not Without Laughter, the East Bottoms offered fun to everyone, regardless of race, gender, religion, education, or social class. It was a place where people could enjoy one of the few if not the only fully integrated place in town. The East Bottoms also provided much needed money to Lawrence’s city government that was strapped for cash to run its police and fire departments, judicial system, and pay its employees.

Join Dennis Domer–architect, emeritus professor, and editor of Embattled Lawrence–for an exploration of lesser known stories from East Lawrence’s rich past. 

Event date: 
Tuesday, April 23, 2024 - 6:30pm
Event address: 
707 Vermont St
Lawrence, KS 66044

Volume 2 of the monumental Embattled Lawrence series is finally arriving soon (release date TBD). Local historian Dennis Domer has enlisted dozens of local writers, historians, and experts to complete this long-awaited second volume in what Domer calls "the only summary of the history of Lawrence published in the last three decades." It's a perfect gift for the Kansas history buff in your life. 

The Enduring Struggle for Freedom (volume 2 of the Embattled Lawrence Series), published by the Watkins Museum of History, contains 38 articles, poems, and paintings, as well as over 300 photos about Lawrence history.

These contributions are divided into six categories: Anti-Slavery, Struggles for Freedom, Haskell Indian Nations University, Tumultuous Years, Toward Equal Rights for All, and Governing a Diverse City.

Authors include

  • Dennis Dailey
  • Judith Sweets
  • Karl Gridley
  • Frank Baron
  • Jeanne Klein
  • Katie Armitage
  • Daniel Atkinson
  • Elizabeth Schultz
  • Brent Campney
  • Myriam Vuckovic
  • Eric Anderson
  • Martha Robinson
  • Kim Warren
  • Daniel Wildcat
  • William Tuttle
  • John Spearman
  • Mike McCaffrey
  • John Solbach
  • Charles Hawkins
  • John Musgrave
  • Nancy Marshall
  • Helen Starrett
  • Kelly Sartorius
  • Joseph Alford
  • Ray Mizumura-Pence
  • Katherine Rose-Mockry
  • Wayne Propst
  • Virgil Dean
  • Cathy Ambler
  • Mike Amyx
  • Dennis Domer

Their histories of Embattled Lawrence portray a forgotten past that mirrors our turbulent times and casts an aura over our possible futures. All sales benefit the Watkins Museum of History. 


Embattled Lawrence is supported by the following generous donors: Nathan Anderson & Patty Hayden, Anonymous, Laura Bailey, in memory of Elfie & Lowell Bailey, Simon & Codi Bates, Bon Bon, Dr. John & Judy Bellome, in honor of Kathy Bruner, Rita Beyer, Roger & Jan Boyd, Aaron Brooks, Dennis Brown, Brenna A. Buchanan Young & Brandon Young, Mark & Marsha Buhler, Paul Caviness, Philip Collison, Lindsay & Jeffrey Crick, Rebecca Crumley, Dennis & Judy Dailey, Sandra Daniels, Candice Davis, Kathryn Delaney, Katherine & Bob Dinsdale, Dennis Domer, Vicki & Joe Douglas, Douglas County Heritage Conservation Council Natural & Cultural Heritage Grant Program, Becky Eason, Kelly Erby & David Dumbauld, David Evans, Steve & April Evans, Jean Finch, Madeline & Hugh Finch, in honor of Tom Harper, Foxtail Real Estate Company, Marci Francisco & Joe Bickford, Diane & Kent Fry, Terry Finton & Neil Gaskin, Richard Givens, Dave Gnojek, Mike & Marium Ann Goans, Stephen Grabow, Karl Gridley, Marilyn Gridley, Ary Guerrero & Calvin McConnell, Suzan Hampton & Kourosh Raeen, in honor of Mary Tajchman, James Harder, Marilee & Dennis Harper, Tom Harper, in honor of James Duft & Jessica Kellner, Charles Hawkins, Jon & Barbara Heeb, Stephen & Marcia Hill, Cindy Schott Hutchison, in honor of Raymond D. Scott, Carrie James, in memory of Barbara Willits, Frank Janzen, Mary & Ted Johnson, Jerry Jost & Deborah Altus, David & Sharyn Katzman, in honor of Bill & Kathy Tuttle, Tim & Judy Keller, Helen Kiefer, in memory of John Kiefer, Bil King, in memory of Clyde McDonald Chapman, Mary Kirkendall, Eric Kirkendall, in memory of George Paley, Joseph Krahn, Anthony Krsnich, Lisa Larsen, Katie Hoke & Roy Ley, Malika Lyon, Chuck Magerl, Chuck & Betsy Marvin, Christopher Millspaugh, Rick Mitchell, Brigid Murphy & Jackson Clark, Daniel Nagengast & Lynn Byczynski, Jean & John Northup, in memory of Charles Y Allison, Suzanne & David Nutt, Molly Hill Patten & Bryan Patten, Ellen Paulsen, Mark & Jane Potts, Dan Rockhill, Joshua Rosenbloom, Leslie Bennett, Deb & Ray Rowden, Nicole & Dan Sabatini, Stephanie Nuria Sabato & Joseph Gorski, in honor of Maggie Sabato, Amanda Santos, Ron Schorr & Georgann Eglinski, Barry Shalinsky & Robin Rosenberg, Carol Shankel, Joy Slavens, Dale Slusser & Sherry Fowler, Rosanne Smith, in memory of Barbara Spearman Anderson, George & Terry Smith, John & Patricia Solbach, Nancy Stark, in honor of Tom Harper, William Steele & Akiko Takeyama, Stephens Real Estate, Mary Stuart, Michael Stubbs, Douglass Stull & Lori Norwood, Lauren Sullivan, in memory of Dr. Jesse Milan, Judy Sweets, Deanell & John Tacha, Steve & Lori Tesdahl, Nancy & Scott Thellman, JT Thornburg, in honor of Mary Y. Allen, Bill & Kathryn Tuttle, Joe Van Saun, Stacey VanHouten, Matt & Judy Veatch, Laurie Ward, Barbara Watkins, Daniel Watkins, Patrick & Kirsten Watkins Summer & Nate Wedermyer, Paul Werner, Bob Werts, in memory of George Paley, Deborah Werts, in memory of John Kiefer, Christopher Wilkins & Vedrana Balta, Todd Wilkins, Chris Wilson, Maureen Winkler, Katherine Winter, in honor of Wint Winter, Sr., and Michael Wray

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