This is not collectible.
While I have lived in Texas for nearly 50 years, I was born and grew to an adult in Kansas. When I tell someone of my origins, they almost always respond in one of two ways: “I have been there but I don’t remember much about it” or “that 400 mile drive across the state on Interstate 70 is really boring.” There is more to the state than that. The wheat grown there feeds the world, and the people are nice, but I will focus on the sometimes lawless history of the state.
Kansas achieved statehood in 1861, but it was far from civilized. From 1850 until 1900 the region was a frontier, and at the center of important events in US history: there was the westward movement of pioneers from Europe and the eastern US and the subsequent conflicts with Native Americans; the Santa Fe Trail crossed the state and the Pony Express and the Oregon Trail passed through a corner; there was a border war because Kansas was a free state and a center of the abolitionist movement, whereas neighboring Missouri was a slave state; and finally the several new railroads were extending westward into hostile territory and furthermore some of the railheads were the destinations of cattle drives from Texas. Each trackable in this series of metal travel bugs is named for towns with interesting histories (at least to me), some of which have connections to my youth.
In 1884, 22 American Indian children entered the doors of a new school in Lawrence. It officially opened under the name of the United States Indian Industrial Training School. Enrollment quickly increased from its original 22 to over 400 students within one semester's time. The early trades for boys included tailoring, wagon making, blacksmithing, harness making, painting, shoe making, and farming. Girls studied cooking, sewing and homemaking. A Normal (teachers) School was added because teachers were needed in the students' home communities. The commercial department (the predecessor of the business department) opened in 1895 with five typewriters. It is believed that the first touch-typing class in Kansas was taught at Haskell.
By 1927, high school classes were accredited by the state of Kansas, and Haskell began offering post high school courses in a variety of areas. Industrial training became an important part of the curriculum in the early 1930's, and by 1935 Haskell began to evolve into a post high school, vocational-technical institution. Gradually, the secondary program was phased out, and the last high school class graduated in 1965.
In 1970, Haskell began offering a junior college curriculum and became Haskell Indian Junior College. In 1992, after a period of planning for the 21st century, the National Haskell Board of Regents recommended a new name to reflect its vision for Haskell as a national center for Indian education, research, and cultural preservation, Haskell Indian Nations University.
The above information was copied from the Haskell website. What follows is my own narrative. I have never been to the Haskell campus. My tenuous connection to the school is through Billy Mills. In 1957, my high school senior year, the Haskell Institute was still just a high school. I ran the mile in track, as did Billy Mills. However, there was a large difference in our skill levels. While I won the race at our league track meet with a plodding time just under five minutes, Billy was a phenom, scoring unheard times very close to four minutes. There was even talk he could eventually break the four-minute barrier.
Our coach took a bunch of seniors to the KU relays (a large track meet) in Lawrence. None of us were good enough to compete but I saw Billy and three other boys from Haskell sweep the distance (mile and half mile) races in the high school division. Billy recieved a scholarship to KU where he was an All-America cross-country runner three times. In 1960 he won the individual title in the Big Eight cross-country championship. The University of Kansas track team won the 1959 and 1960 outdoor national championships while Mills was on the team. I don’t know if he ever ran a mile in competition in college, but he never went under four minutes. After graduation he joined the Marine Corp. I lost track of him after that.
I happened to be watching the 1964 Tokyo Olympics when the 10,000 m race was about to start. The announcers were listing contenders, and as an afterthought, they mentioned the US runners one of whom was Billy Mills. Unknown to me, he had qualified for the Olympics in both the 10,000 meter and the marathon. The favorite in 1964 for the 10,000 m was Ron Clarke of Australia, who held the world record. The runners expected to challenge him were defending champion Pyotr Bolotnikov of the Soviet Union, and Murray Halberg of New Zealand, who had won the 5,000 m in 1960.
Billy was a virtual unknown because had finished only second in the U.S. trials. His times in the preliminary races were a full minute slower than Clarke's times. Clark’s tactic of increasing pace every other lap appeared to be working since contenders would fall back after each surge. Halfway through the race, only four runners were still with Clarke. With two laps to go, only two runners were still with Clarke, Gammoudi of Tunisia and Mills. On paper, it seemed to be Clarke's race. He had run a world record time of 28:15.6 while neither Gammoudi nor Mills had ever run under 29 minutes.
Mills and Clarke were running together with Gammoudi right behind as they entered the final lap. They were lapping other runners and, down the backstretch. Then Gammoudi pushed them both and surged into the lead as they rounded the final curve. Clarke recovered and began chasing Gammoudi while Mills appeared to be too far back to be in contention. I was heartbroken because Billy had been so close. However, he pulled out to an outside lane and, with the announcer screaming “look at Mills, look at Mills,” Billy sprinted past both of them. His winning time of 28:24.4 was almost 50 seconds faster than he had run before and set a new Olympic record for the event. I was SO proud and even now, while writing more than 50 years later, again I can hardly breathe and tears fill my eyes.