These Arizona History presentation topics by public speaker Jim Turner cover Tucson history, Southwestern history, and Mexican history. Many feature historic images and photographs in PowerPoint format.
I select the best stories and images to entertain and educate any audience: Retirees, teachers, conferences, conventions, professional organizations, and service clubs all enjoy interesting history presentations about Arizona's fascinating past. The PowerPoint talks vary from 20 to 90 minutes, depending on your needs. You may also request a history topic tailored especially to your group (law, medicine, journalism, etc.), allowing at least two weeks' notice for research and preparation.
The following are descriptions of some of my talks and a list of Southwestern history presentations developed over the past ten years. The ones listed in red italics are PowerPoint (computer slideshow) presentations with historic pictures, western art, and digital photos of historic and scenic sites.
Coronado's Journey from Mexico to Kansas, 1540-42
In 1540, Francisco Vasquez de Coronado entered Arizona with the largest expedition ever gathered in North America and took two years to travel from Mexico to Kansas. Indians might have stood for several hours watching 350 Spaniards, 1,000 Indian allies, and thousands of horses, cattle, and sheep pass by their villages. Historians have puzzled over Coronado’s exact route through Arizona, including Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall, accompanied by Jackie Kennedy, who said, “I was absolutely knocked out by the beauty of all we saw.”
When the United States declared war on Mexico in 1846, thousands of refugees from the Irish potato famines joined the army for the pay. They endured extreme prejudice and punishment from their Nativist, Anglo-American officers. Eventually, hundreds deserted to serve with their fellow Catholics in the Mexican Army, where many received officers in their own battalion, the Saint Patrick's, under a green silk flag with the Harp of Erin on one side and the Mexican Snake and Eagle on the other. Learn the personal stories of several of these men, the only organized group of deserters ever to form a unit and fight against the United States Army.
Many people know G-Men shot down that famous Robin Hood with a Tommy gun in front of Chicago's Biograph Theater, but few realize that six months earlier, on a rainy Thursday, January 24, 1934, he was captured without a shot in Tucson, along with three of his gangsters and their molls. Through a combination of coincidence, luck, criminal ego, and good police work, the Old Pueblo made the newsreels for a few days, and spawned a local Congress Hotel event in commemoration.
You may call the Western National Parks Association (520) 622-1999, Arizona Historical Society (520) 617-1153, or Pima Community College (520) 206-3952, for comments about audience satisfaction.