Picking research projects, sometimes for me, is an agonizing problem that eventually turns into an enlightening experience; what was to be my American Humanities research project was just such an experience. I had preliminarily thought I\'d look into cultural myths. While researching myths, I ran across El Dorado Springs, MO., under the category of geographical myths, in the library computer. I thought how interesting while also wondering why. The book listed had been published in 1887, with a question mark behind it, and was housed in the rare book collection of the main library. Off I went to the main library to see what the old book had to say. While looking through the small book, what appeared to be possibly a promotional pamphlet for the town, I thought perhaps the spring was why it was classified as a geographical myth. While I read through this book, the librarian brought me another book she had found in their collection about El Dorado Springs. This one was written and published in 1962 by Paul Kemp titled The Wonder City. Interestingly, Kemp started the book with a statement that really piqued my curiosity. "Indians who once roamed the area had known that the spring had medicinal qualitites, but, with characteristic reticence and secretiveness, they did not reveal this fact to the white man. They held the secret in their hearts as they gave ground and moved westward from the surging horde of white immigrants . . . " (1). To my mind, this sounded like a fallacy; how did they know the Indians knew if they never told anyone? Could I find out if the Indians considered the water medicinal? Could I prove this statement false? Farther on in the book, I came to the section titled "For Whites Only." "From the town\'s founding[,] no negros have ever lived here." This in itself, to me, was phenomenal, but the last sentence was what made me want to search farther. "El Dorado still has no negro residents, but under today\'s Supreme Court rulings on civil rights, we have lost face and must bow to the age of fading color
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lines (Kemp 30). Did the town, after 1962, the published date of the book, ever allow negros to become residents of the town? This town seemed to keep other cultures from entering its borders, the perfect topic for my American Humanities paper. When I submitted my topic, my teachers didn\'t match my enthusiasm for El Dorado Springs and suggested I continue searching. I eventually found other material to write about but El Dorado kept haunting my dreams. I knew nothing about this town, but there was a tugging that pulled at the perimeters of my mind that could not be ignored. Little things kept popping up about the town in conversations or in things that I read. Being a strong believer in "there are no accidents," when my English instructor mentioned a teacher she knew who lived there but taught in Kansas City, I asked if I could tackle El Dorado Springs as the subject of my I Search for English. When the answer was yes, I set out to find if I could uncover the reasons for underlying feeling of my being pulled to this area.
What did I really want to know about this town? Could I find information on the Native Americans that had inhabited the area, before the white settlers, and whether or not they had put any importance on the area and its water? Why was it important to disprove the statement in The Wonder City about the Native Americans? Did it tie in with the discrimination of African Americans the book alluded to? Would I find other instances of discrimination? Why did I feel drawn to this area? Questions tumbled around in my head.
I felt the first step in my search should be to try to find out more about the town. I had already exhausted the library\'s information and searching the Internet turned up no information. It was time to contact the only person\'s name I had that knew about the area, Susanna Swager, the teacher who worked at the Blue Springs campus and lived in El