My Ántonia at 100: The Ongoing Story

Special Events

National Willa Cather Center
413 North Webster Street
Red Cloud, NE 68970
United States

“Black Hawk, the new world in which we had come to live”: Stories from the Red Cloud Community

A special session of the 63rd Annual Willa Cather Spring Conference will focus on life in Red Cloud, Nebraska, both during Cather’s life and today. In My Ántonia when Jim Burden is relocated to Black Hawk (Cather’s fictional version of Red Cloud), he describes the town with familiar language to Nebraskans: “Black Hawk, the new world in which we had come to live, was a clean, well-planted little prairie town, with white fences and good green yards about the dwellings, wide, dusty streets, and shapely little trees growing along the wooden sidewalks.” Jim quickly learns that even within those neat dwellings, people struggle and fight, enjoy life or long to escape. What does it mean to live in a small town on the prairie? How has Red Cloud changed since Willa Cather was a child there?