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Silent cinema classic to show in next #PieceUnited event

September 11th, 2017

NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Bethel College’s Student Government Association (SGA) and Kauffman Museum will host a screening of the controversial 1915 silent film The Birth of a Nation.

Special guest Mark McCormick, Wichita, executive director of The Kansas African-American Museum, and Kauffman Museum Director Annette LeZotte will co-lead a discussion following the film, which shows Nov. 17 at 5:30 p.m. in the museum.

The Birth of a Nation follows the intertwining lives of two families, the Abolitionist Stonemans from the North and the genteel Camerons from the South, through the Civil War and into Reconstruction.

It is considered a cinema classic for the new techniques employed by its director, D.W. Griffith, and highly controversial for its stereotypical portrayal of black characters, especially men, and its seeming glorification of the Ku Klux Klan.

This is the second in a series of book and film discussions that SGA and the museum are sponsoring as part of SGA’s #PieceUnited movement, “an ongoing effort to engage the diverse culture of the Bethel community, as well as the surrounding community.”

These events are free and open to the public.

The next book discussion will be Dec. 15, on The Warmth of Other Suns, a highly acclaimed historical study by Isabel Wilkerson.

Regular Kauffman Museum hours are 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesday-Friday (extended hours to 8 p.m. on third Thursdays), and 1:30-4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The museum is closed Mondays and major holidays. Admission to the current special exhibition “Memory Matters: Works by Gesine Janzen” as well as the permanent exhibits “Of Land and People,” “Mirror of the Martyrs” and “Mennonite Immigrant Furniture” is $4 for adults, $2 for children ages 6-16, and free to Kauffman Museum members and children under 6. For more information, call the museum at 316-283-1612 or visit its website,, or Facebook page.

About Bethel

As the first Mennonite college founded in North America, Bethel College celebrates a tradition of progressive Christian liberal arts education, diversity within community, and lifelong learning.