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The Western Historical Manuscript Collection – Columbia and The State Historical Society of Missouri will unveil the documentary, Bringing Government to the People: The Jerry Litton Dialogues, Wednesday, Oct. 20, at 6:00 p.m. in Ellis Auditorium on the University of Missouri campus.
Produced by the Western Historical Manuscript Collection-Columbia, the State Historical Society, and the Jerry Litton Family Memorial Foundation, this documentary will feature never-before-seen footage with prominent guests such as Jimmy Carter, Hubert Humphrey, and Shirley Chisholm. This event is co-sponsored by the University of Missouri, College of Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources.
In 1972 Jerry Litton was elected U.S. congressman from Missouri’s Sixth District, representing a large portion of northwest Missouri. This was the same year the Watergate break-in occurred. The Dialogue with Litton show was born from a desire to “bring government back to the people,” and featured Litton and a guest in an unscripted format discussing constituent concerns such as unemployment, inflation, energy policies, and the food crisis.
These meetings were so successful that in one year, 1973-74, the original radio broadcast grew to a made-for-television program with audiences as large as 1,800 at the last taping. Litton won reelection to his congressional seat in 1974 and determined to win the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate race in 1976. On August 3, 1976, the same day he won the primary, Litton died in a plane crash at the Chillicothe airport. Litton’s wife and their two children, the pilot, and the pilot’s son also perished in the accident.
The State Historical Society of Missouri was established in 1898 and is located on the University of Missouri campus in Columbia. The Western Historical Manuscript Collection (WHMC) is a joint collection of the University of Missouri and the State Historical Society. The mission of the joint collection is to collect, preserve, and make available primary source materials that illuminate the history of Missouri and the region.