“The Exchange. In White America. Kaukauna & King 50 Years later” – Documentary Screening in Cedarburg June 29, 2022

Schedule: 

Film at the Rivoli Theatre in Cedarburg: 4:30 PM

Free Admission

Discussion until 7 pm. 

Reception at Cedarburg Art Museum:

6 to 8:30 PM *Discussion will continue at CAM if need.

RSVP is needed to the Reception ONLY. 
Space is limited. Deadline to sign up June 26. 

The Exchange. In White America. Kaukauna & King 50 Years Later. Will be shown at the Rivoli at 4:30. This film is just coming off a run of packed audiences and sold out performance in the Milwaukee Film Festival. This film is produced by Joanne Williams, former television anchor and reporter. She will be attending and available for questions. This will be the last opportunity to see the film before it goes on a film festival circuit and it is not yet available for streaming. 

A discussion will start at the theater after the film but then will be moved to the courtyard of the Cedarburg Art Museum with weather permitting. The carriage house will be a cash bar and open for beer, wine, and soft drinks. There will be sausage and cheese platters for a light appetizer.  

For more information about the film and screening, please contact the Rivoli Theatre.

Film Synopsis:

In 1966, a social studies teacher in the all- white Kaukauna High School  wanted to introduce his students to a broader view of the world. Thomas Schaffer taught in the small Wisconsin town of just under 10-thousand and many of them had never been out of their hometown, even as close as Green Bay, Wisconsin… only 115 miles away.

Schaffer decided to have his students perform the documentary play, “In White America”. It was the narrative accounts of African Americans in the United States from slavery to the Civil Rights movement. But there were no Black people in Kaukauna, so Schaffer with the help of English/theatre teacher Bernie Hupperts developed a student exchange with Milwaukee’s Rufus King High School.

Hupperts introduced Schaffer to Black English teacher Ruth Thomas. 

Ruth Thomas recruited students she believed would benefit from the exchange and be able to handle the immersion in small town, in an all- white culture.

The students from Rufus King lived in the homes of students in Kaukauna for about a month and performed the play with Kaukauna students chosen by Schaffer.

Then the Kaukauna students moved to the homes of the Rufus King students in Milwaukee, lived with them for a month and performed the play, again.

An exchange like this had not been done by either school before and the results, reactions and impact on the students and audiences were unknown.

This exchange happened in 1966, right in the middle of the Civil Rights movement in America.

Some of the original students were brought together 50 Years later for a new performance of the play by a new multi-ethnic generation of high school students.

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